FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – Poudre Fire Authority officials say firefighters have saved eight people in less than 24 hours from a particular section of the Cache La Poudre River. Firefighters say people are getting caught in the river under a railroad crossing near College Avenue.

(credit: Poudre Fire Authority)

The problematic section of river is between the Lee Martinez Community Park on the west side of College Avenue and the new Whitewater Park on the east side of the same street.

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Firefighters say the route is impassable because of debris. They add the park is closed.

Two signs now ask river-goers to get out of the river at a Legacy Park exit.

Fire officials tell CBS4 the city is considering assigning an employee at the park to help curb the number of rescue calls.

They also say they’re already seeing an increase in callouts this year with their first one being on May 1. The bulk of the calls typically peak in June.

“The second the water is high and moving and we have a nice day, those rescues start coming in,” said Annie Bierbower, a spokeswoman for PFA. “One of our major concerns is tubers won’t have durable tubes.”

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On Friday, two kayakers were rescued after getting caught in the debris. Both were wearing life jackets and were reportedly okay.

(credit: Facebook/Ft Collins Police Services)

The Whitewater Park officially opened in 2019. The park was part of a multi-year, $11 million project focused on improving a stretch of the Poudre River in town.

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Aside from providing a new year-round play area for water sports enthusiasts, the project deepened and narrowed the river to improve its ability to contain flood waters. It also removed two old dam structures to facilitate the migration of fish upstream.

Danielle Chavira