Effective immediately, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office is closing the Kings River from Pine Flat Dam to the Tulare and Kings County lines.  Sheriff Margaret Mims has made this order in the best interest of public safety.  This closure is permitted under the authority of Penal Code 409.5(a) and Fresno County Ordinance 13.32.080.

The decision has been made due to a large amount of melting snow in the Sierra.  Pine Flat Dam is currently taking in water at a rate of approximately 10,000 cubic feet per second (cfs).  The dam is also pushing out approximately 10,000 cfs into the Kings River. According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, both of these numbers are expected to increase in the coming weeks.  

1 cfs = 7 ½ gallons per second

This amounts to 449 gallons per minute and 646,272 gallons per day

It is important for the public to understand that access to the river is denied until further notice.  This includes all recreational activity such as:   Boating, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, floating, etc.  During the closure, the Sheriff’s Boating Enforcement Unit (BEU) will continue to patrol the Kings River.  Deputies will strictly enforce this closure and violators will be subject to citations.  This infraction comes with a minimum fine of $225.00.  It should be noted that both Tulare and Kings County have also closed its portions of the Kings River in the interest of public safety.

The Kings River water temperature is currently registering between 50° - 52°.  Exposure to the cold water can cause hypothermia, which can quickly lead to exhaustion or unconsciousness.  Increased water releases can result in numerous public safety hazards and areas of serious concern for floaters and swimmers.  Riverbanks can erode and lead to many more trees falling into the river.  Downed trees create strainers, which is where turbulent water flows through the tree.  A person caught in a strainer can quickly find themselves pinned against the tree or even swept underneath it.  It is extremely difficult to rescue yourself from a strainer and typically requires emergency help from trained rescue personnel.

As you recreate in all natural waterways this summer, the Sheriff’s Office would like to remind you to be safe while doing your activities.  Take simple precautions such as:  Wear a life jacket, stay out of the water if you’re not an experienced swimmer and do not mix alcohol and swimming.  Alcohol causes swimmers to fatigue faster than normal and can create dangerous situations.  Also, please keep an eye on your children at all times.  In less than a minute, they can slip into the water and be put at risk of injury or death.

The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office will be reassessing water levels and river conditions throughout the summer.  Once deemed safe, access to the river will be reopened to the public.  The Sheriff’s Office will notify the community online and via the media. 

The public can check the hourly flows from Pine Flat Dam by visiting

Sheriff Mims last exercised Ordinance 13.32.080 in 2017, closing the Kings River from May 24th to July 17th.  

Assistant Sheriff John Zanoni Announces Kings River Closure








Contact Information

Tony Botti
Public Information Officer
(559) 600-8137
(559) 977-0379
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