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Authorities in Paso Robles concerned about people in Salinas Riverbed as waters rise

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Posted at 6:51 PM, Jan 27, 2021

The Salinas Riverbed in Paso Robles is a growing concern as waters rise during a big storm Wednesday.

First responders in Paso Robles are preparing for potential rescue like one that took place in March 2018, where nearly a dozen people and a dog were rescued from the riverbed.

Now, three years later there is potential for the same issue.

"For the last two days the police department and the fire department, emergency services have been down in the riverbed trying to inform people of what's coming and certainly take high ground," said Commander Caleb Davis, Paso Robles Police Department.

The rescues are dangerous for first responders, but they are trained and ready.

"We've decided to up staff our heavy rescue," said Battalion Chief Randy Harris, Paso Robles Fire and Emergency Services. "Our heavy rescue has a swift water component so we've staffed that with three personnel. It has flotation devices, wetsuits, all the gear we need to make water rescues."

With the potential for the riverbed to rise to 20 to 25 feet by Thursday, police and fire are hoping more of the people who make their home in the riverbed decide to take higher ground as the storm picks up.

As of Wednesday evening, some people have left the area but others have just moved their tents to higher ground hoping to ride it out.