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First Responders Warn Adventurers Of Payette River Logjam

David Walsh
Bureau of Reclamation
Whitewater rafters on the South Fork of the Payette River.

Kayakers, rafters and boaters beware: a logjam is causing a safety hazard on one of Idaho’s most popular whitewater rivers.

The U.S. Forest Service says high water flows have stacked logs blocking the left half of the river near Dog Leg rapid, near mile marker 4 on Banks Lowman Road.

Garden Valley Fire Chief Jon Delvalle says his crew is planning to set the pile ablaze next week.

“Floating that section for Monday is going to be extremely hazardous. Number one, the debris pile is going to be on fire, but secondly, that’s going to carry for a few days, most likely, before it consumes what it will.”

After that, Delvalle says they will try to break it up if they can.

He says high river flows are expected through mid-June, creating dangerous conditions if anyone gets snagged up in the debris.

“We don’t see a viable rescue or a recovery to be made there at this point.”

One kayaker has already been caught up in the debris, but was able to swim safely to shore. To avoid the logjam, recreators can portage around it or put in downstream of the Dog Leg rapid.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season. If you have a tip, please get in touch!

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