Visitors Told to Stay Out of Swollen Kern River on Fourth of July Weekend

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The weather promises to be sunny and hot, and a fireworks show is scheduled to light up Lake Isabella on Saturday night, setting up a perfect Fourth of July weekend for thousands of visitors expected to flock to the banks of the Kern River over the holiday.

But after a spate of drownings this month on the powerful 165-mile-long Kern, officials have a message for visitors: Stay out of the water.

This year’s melting Sierra Nevada snowpack, after one of the wettest winters on record, has swollen central California rivers with cold, fast-moving water.

Casualties on the Kern, about three hours north of Los Angeles, have been mounting and include five drownings, two people missing and thought to have drowned, and a heart attack death, according to Sgt. Zachary Bittle, who coordinates search and rescue operations in Kern County.

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