The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office is actively monitoring rising water levels on the Kings River from Pine Flat Dam to the Tulare and Kings County lines.  Due to information obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sheriff Margaret Mims anticipates a possible closure next week to this portion of the Kings River.  This would apply to all recreational users, such as boaters, kayakers, tubers, swimmers, etc.  Enacting a closure would be a difficult decision, but one that must be made in the best interest of public safety.  This closure would be permitted under the authority of Penal Code 409.5(a) and Fresno County Ordinance 13.32.080.  Sheriff Mims last exercised this ordinance in 2017, closing the Kings River from May 24th to July 17th.

Due to rising temperatures in the weather forecast, a large amount of melting snow is expected in the Sierra.  This will cause an increase of water into Pine Flat Lake, therefore resulting in a higher release of water into the Kings River. Currently, Pine Flat Lake is taking in water at a rate of just under 7,500 cubic feet per second (cfs).  The dam is pushing out nearly 9,300 cfs into the Kings River, as of Friday afternoon.

1 cfs = 7 ½ gallons per second

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

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

The Kings River water temperature is registering 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 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.

Kings River - 2017 photo


Contact Information

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