River respect

The the Fraser River is a powerful thing, especially as it approaches levels not seen here in 40 years. But it can also be dangerous.

The allure of the Fraser River is a powerful thing, especially as it approaches levels not seen here in 40 years.

But it can also be dangerous.

Both city and provincial officials are urging residents to stay away from the swollen rivers.

And with good reason.

We’ve already seen one death in B.C.

Edward Posnikoff, 72, was standing on a bridge that was swept away near his home in the Crescent Valley near Nelson Saturday evening.

That tragedy prompted Chris Duffy of Emergency Management B.C. to highlight the danger of high river levels, unstable banks and debris. He’s warning people to stay clear of streams and rivers.

His concern echoes what the City of Chilliwack said all last week. The river banks are no place for curious onlookers.

Said Chilliwack emergency co-ordinator Jim MacDonald: “What looks like stable ground, may not in fact be stable.

“When our staff are required to work on dicey ground like that they are wearing life jackets, he told The Progress. “That’s how seriously we take it.”

Even under normal conditions a river can be a dangerous place. Nearly every year there are reports of fishermen being swept away after slipping on the muddy banks.

With the Fraser running as fast as it is, one mistake could be fatal.

True, the Fraser River is an awesome sight right now. But swift-moving water needs to be treated with respect.

Getting a closer look is not worth a lost life.