Kern River Rescue in Kernville
Just after 6:00 AM this morning, Kern County Firefighters in Kernville were called to rescue a woman that was stuck on a rock in the Kern River. The woman had been stuck on the rock through the night and exhibited signs of hypothermia. Crews were able to safely bring her ashore utilizing ropes and a cinch collar. She was warmed with blankets and taken by ambulance to a local hospital for evaluation.
The 33-year-old woman was with three other adults that decided to begin a rafting trip after sundown. When their raft capsized, the other three individuals made it safely to shore. Not knowing where they were, the three decided to stay on the shore near the woman. As temperatures dropped, the three decided to start a warming fire. At some point during the night, the warming fire spread into grass and burned approximately 1/8th of an acre. After crews rescued the woman, they extinguished the smoldering remains of the fire.
There are many lessons to be taken from this incident. Namely, DO NOT underestimate the power of the Kern River. Each year, people die in its waters. NEVER get in the river at night. Hazards that are difficult to see during the day certainly cannot be seen at night. Know where you are at all times and know how to get help. DO NOT start fires near brush and dry grass. Wildfires can destroy entire communities. You will be liable for the costs to fight the fire. On a positive note, nobody was seriously injured this time around and all four were wearing life jackets.