Safety Precautions Issued for Lake Berryessa Visitors

The federal Bureau of Reclamation's Lake Berryessa office in Napa, Calif., is asking visitors to take extra caution when in or around the lake this winter. The lake is high due to recent storms, and recent wildfires have brought more sediment and downed trees into the lake.

The federal Bureau of Reclamation's Lake Berryessa office in Napa, Calif., is asking visitors to take extra caution when recreating in and around the lake this winter. The lake is high due to recent storms, and recent wildfires have brought more sediment and downed trees into the lake, according to the Feb.4 notice posted the bureau's website.

It asks visitors to the lake located north of San Francisco to use caution in and around the lake and follow these safety tips:

1. Driving: Check road and weather conditions prior to starting trips and allow extra driving time due to rock/debris slides, visitors and wildlife. Consider visiting during the weekdays if possible.

2. Boating: Use extreme caution navigating through the reservoir. The 2018 County Fire's burned areas are experiencing their first heavy rains. Upstream burned area runoff entering the lake is thick with silt and downed trees. Increased lake cloudiness has resulted in poor visibility of submerged and floating hazards.

3. Shoreline: Quickly rising waters may weaken and undermine shorelines around the lake. Keep some distance from the shoreline, observe terrain changes, and remain on maintained roadways and trails when possible.

4. Hypothermia: Lake Berryessa's cold water can lead to potentially life-threatening hypothermia. Symptoms include shivering, slurred speech, apathy, disorientation, drowsiness, and unconsciousness. Move into a warm or sheltered area immediately. Replace wet clothing with dry clothes, a sleeping bag, or blankets and drink a warm, nonalcoholic beverage if conscious.

Visitors can contact the Lake Berryessa Field Office at 707-966-2111, ext. 113 before visiting the lake for current information or can visit the website at https://www.usbr.gov/mp/ccao/berryessa/.

The lake was formed when the bureau built Monticello Dam on Putah Creek in 1957. Project purposes included flood control, municipal and industrial water supply, and irrigation water supply.

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