High water in Golden gets the finger

The spring runoff in Colorado has made recreation dangerous, with multiple drownings on the Western Slope in recent days.

No fatalities in Golden yet due to fast water.

But fire fighters there responded to multiple rapids-related emergency calls yesterday, including one that cost a kayaker a finger.

The department says the water volume in Clear Creek is roughly double its normal amount -- and its speed resulted in numerous folks into the family friendly kind of water sports being separated from their tubes, etc.

And speaking of separation, a kayaker's finger was amputated when it got caught in a carabiner. Which is probably more fun than losing a digit after a guy tries to steal your iPad, but only just.

Get more details on the Golden fire fighters' busy day in the release below:

Golden Fire Responds to Multiple Water Calls, Warns to Stay Out of the Water

Golden, Colo. -- June 7, 2010 -- The Golden Fire Department wants to warn people to stay out of Clear Creek. The Creek peaked today at 1350 cubic feet per second (cfs). That's compared to 650 cfs on Friday which means the water flow has more than doubled in just a few days. The Creek is expected to be even higher overnight tonight and tomorrow. Anyone without proper gear should stay out of the water, particularly people on tubes, rafts or boogie boards.

Golden Fire spoke to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department to ask about closing the creek through Golden. JeffCo has the authority to close the creek through the canyon and could extend the closure to Golden. JeffCo will evaluate the water levels and make a decision tomorrow morning on whether or not a closure is necessary.

So far today, Golden Fire has responded to four emergency calls on the Creek:

1:40 p.m. -- Report of tubers in trouble. They apparently lost their tubes but were able to get out of the creek on their own without any injuries.

2;00 p.m. -- Report of a male juvenile that came off a tube. Rescue crews scanned the area, but no one was found in distress and there have been no reports of a missing person.

1:55 p.m. -- Off of Hwy 6 at mile marker 262 -- report of orange kayak without a person inside. Rescue crews found out that there were three people involved and all got out safely.

However, at 2:30 p.m., crews were called back to MM 264 on an injured kayaker. The owner of the orange kayak tried to retrieve his kayak and got into trouble on the water. His finger got caught in a carabiner and was amputated but was able to get out of the water on his own.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts