Stepping up patrols at the lake on Fourth of July


EL DORADO, Kan. (KSNW) – Independence Day celebrations started early and are expected to go late.

Kim Ho was at El Dorado Lake with her family and furry friends. She said the holiday is the perfect excuse to head to the lake.

“Just barbequeing, and getting the dogs and the kids outdoors,” Ho said.

El Dorado Lake didn’t have the crowd it usually gets on the Fourth of July, but that didn’t mean law enforcement got a break today.

The weather and high water level were conditions Kansas game wardens kept a close eye on.

“This lake has never been this full before,” explained Larry Hastings, a game warden for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.

Fun on the lake can turn dangerous fast, which meant wardens kept a close eye on those enjoying the water.

“How they’re operating the boat, where people are sitting at, they got life jackets, they’re paying attention to where they’re operating at, if they’re obeying the no-wake zones and what not,” said Hastings.

Law enforcement also made sure those having a drink or two weren’t operating a boat, also known as “boating under the influence.”

“This lake, at one time, produced quite a bit,” Hastings said. “We’ve actually gotten a lot better over the years, but yes, it’s still an issue.”

Today’s weather also had wardens keeping their eyes to the sky.

“Boats attract lightning on the water,” said Hastings. “We will even get off the water because, again, we don’t want to get shocked ourselves.”

Many lake goers knew the conditions weren’t anything to mess with — like Brandon Johnson, who celebrated the holiday by jet skiing with this family.

“We’ll try to avoid the little coves and stuff. Obviously stay away from areas that are high,” he said.

It goes to show you can have fun while staying safe on the Fourth.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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