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Ravalli Sheriff asking for caution after numerous weekend rescue calls

River safety.jpg
Posted at 4:22 PM, Jul 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-18 18:25:33-04

HAMILTON - Ravalli County Sheriff Steve Holton is asking for people to use more caution after search and rescue teams faced numerous calls over the weekend.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) had warned people to the hazards on the Bitterroot River just last week.

FWP said the later runoff this summer had created a bad combination where the river is running fast and cold, with a lot of debris still present as we hit the weeks of the summer float season.

And sure enough, Holton says Ravalli County Search and Rescue received multiple calls Sunday where people had gotten into trouble.

Holton says late Sunday morning rescuers were called to help three people when their raft got caught on a log jam near Stevensville. Later in the afternoon, crews were called to help two woman when their inner tube flipped, sending them into a tree in the water.

Additionally, SAR teams had calls for a "public assist" near Victor and Darby rescuers were dispatched to a call on the West Fork Sunday evening.

Holton says it wasn't just water. Personnel were also sent to the Larry Creek Trailhead to help a hiker with heat exhaustion.

"if you don't have experience, don't try to get it now," Holton said.

Noting the county has never seen this many people outdoors in the past he added the county "just doesn't have the resources to help everybody."