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Kern River dangers: How to beat the heat and stay safe

People prepare to raft on the Kern River Friday, June 16, 2017 in Kern County, Calif. Authorities warn people against getting into the dangerous Kern River. If you do, don't do it alone, experts warn. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

With temperatures hitting over 100 degrees this weekend, cooling off in the Kern River may seem tempting, but officials are urging people to stay out.

"The river is extremely dangerous this year," Ray Pruitt, spokesperson for the Kern County Sheriff's Office, said. "The levels are higher than we've seen in years."

Although some areas of the river look calm and safe, Pruitt said it is deceiving.

"It's going to be hot, people may be drinking alcohol, it looks tempting to jump in real quick and there are areas of the river that don't look too dangerous, but the currents underneath are very strong. It's very easy for people to get swept away or get pinned against rocks or shrubbery."

If you plan to go into the river, Pruitt said make sure you are wearing a life jacket and do with a professional company.

River's End Rafting and Adventure Company is one of the many businesses in the area that offer guided tours of the Kern River.

"When you go with a professional guide, we now what we're dong, we've been on this river for years, we know it like the back of our hand," Sara Adona or River's End and Adventure Company, said. "They're [guides] are trained in safety and know exactly what to do if any situations do come up."

Adona said the best way to enjoy the river and stay safe is with a professional guide.

"There are a lot of options right here in Bakersfield to up in Kernville," she said. "Don't go in alone."

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