Fourth of July Weekend: DUI checkpoints, Truckee River alcohol ban on tap | SierraSun.com

Fourth of July Weekend: DUI checkpoints, Truckee River alcohol ban on tap

Matthew Renda and Jason Shueh
Sierra Sun
Sun file photo Law enforcementand#8217;s message to locals and tourists this weekend: Donand#8217;t drink and drive.
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TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Throughout the Fourth of July weekend, the sleepy semi-rural mountain atmosphere of Tahoeand#8217;s shoulder season quickly evaporates and is replaced with a carnivalesque ambiance as visitors pour in to partake in summer outdoor activities and holiday events.

While public safety officials understand most visitors travel to Tahoe in a celebratory frame of mind, they are urging everyone to exercise sound judgment and#8212; as law enforcement will be vigilant regarding alcohol-related crimes.

and#8220;We want people to enjoy themselves, but they need to be responsible,and#8221; said Armando Avina, spokesman for Washoe County Sheriffand#8217;s Office. and#8220;Weand#8217;ll have our boat out on the lake and enhanced street patrols. Itand#8217;s no secret that weand#8217;ll be looking for those who are driving while intoxicated.and#8221;

At least one DUI checkpoint will be in place at an unspecified location in Incline Village over the holiday weekend, according to the Nevada Highway Patrol.

Furthermore, California Highway Patrol Trooper Tony Prisco said CHP will be fully staffed over the weekend, and a DUI checkpoint will be at an unspecified location Friday at the lake.

On Saturday, Prisco said there will be seven to eight additional patrol cars in the region between 1 and 10 p.m. and#8212; afterward, every available officer will put on duty through Monday.

Those caught operating water vessels in Lake Tahoe while impaired will face stiff penalties, including fines and/or jail time, Nevada Department of Wildlife said.

and#8220;Impaired boaters are responsible for a large number of our boating deaths every year,and#8221; said David Pfiffner, boating law administrator at NDOW. and#8220;With just a little awareness, we can stop many of these needless accidents and fatalities.and#8221;

When people are impaired by alcohol, boating accidents are more likely and more deadly for both passengers and boat operators, many of whom capsize their vessel or simply fall overboard.

and#8220;We want recreational boaters to enjoy themselves, but there will be zero tolerance for BUI,and#8221; Pfiffner said.

Also of note is the ban on alcohol on the Truckee River this weekend, in effect for July 2-4, for the fourth consecutive year and#8212; an annual mandate for big summer holiday weekends by the Placer County Board of Supervisors.

Placer County Sheriff Office Sgt. John Giovannini said bike officers will be on patrol to monitor rafters and boaters along the shoreline.

and#8220;We will have foot teams, bicycle teams and more patrol cars on duty,and#8221; Giovannini said.

Giovannini said the departmentand#8217;s primary enforcement over the weekend will be done on the Truckee river, at large public events and the most commonly used beaches; patrols will be roughly doubled during the weekend.

Captain Randy Fenn of the Truckee Police Department said staffing will be typical for the weekend, with police concentrating enforcement on highly populated events and gatherings.

and#8220;There will be extra police office on duty because of the parade in the morning to and fireworks demonstrations at night,and#8221; he said.

Fireworks are illegal in the Lake Tahoe Basin (except on Washoe Indian land). The ban includes all consumer fireworks known as and#8220;safe and sane,and#8221; brought in from outside the area, including sparklers and firecrackers.

The National Fire Protection Association states that more fires are reported in the United States on July 4 than any other day of the year and more than half of the fires reported are caused by fireworks. In 2009, fireworks cased an estimated 18,000 reported fires, including 1,300 total structure fires, 4000 vehicle fires and 16,300 outside and miscellaneous fires, resulting in $38 million in property damage.

Gene Welch, public information officer for the Truckee Fire Protection District, underscored the ban and said those wishing to see fireworks should watch public displays instead of igniting their own.

and#8220;On our end, we want to remind people that fireworks are not legal anywhere,and#8221; Welch said.

Welch also wanted to remind visitors and locals that when disposing ashes from barbecue grills, they should be placed in a metal container for at least three to five days before being disposed of.

Weather officials are urging residents and visitors to be careful before entering area waters due to swift river flow and cooler-than-normal temperatures.

When asked which rivers present a danger to the public, Robert Hartman, the hydrologist in charge with the California Nevada River Forecast Center, replied: and#8220;All of them.and#8221;

and#8220;The snowmelt run-off has been delayed significantly this year,and#8221; he said. and#8220;The flow contains an inordinately high amount of water, and cooler water temperatures means the rivers can be dangerous right now.and#8221;

When a human body enters water with a temperature below 55 degrees, it must work harder to maintain its internal body heat and#8212; meaning there is not much energy left over for swimming or other strenuous effort. Life jackets or flotation devices are highly recommended when venturing into the water over the weekend.

The U.S. Forest Service also is warning outdoor recreators to be prepared for various factors resulting from this seasonand#8217;s record snowpack.

People wishing to get away from the crowds to the high country should be cautious, said spokeswoman Lisa Herron, as hiking destinations such as Desolation Wilderness still have heavy concentrations of snow coverage.

and#8220;Warm clothing and proper footwear are essential,and#8221; Herron said. and#8220;Snowshoes or cross-country skis may be needed due to heavy snow remaining in most backcountry locations. Also, you are advised to bring a compass as many trails are still snow covered.and#8221;