Warm temperatures and melting snow pack are leading to warnings from Ravalli County Sheriff Steve Holton about recreating on or near the Bitterroot River.

"It's that time of year that we want to start stressing that public safety message that the river can get dangerous when the snow melts and temperatures rise," Holton said. "We've had a little bit of flooding in the fishing access areas, and the Woodside Fishing Access was closed."

Holton said the safest place this time of year is out of the water altogether, but if residents insist on braving the high waters, be prepared.

"The most important thing is to wear a life preserver or a flotation device," he said. "Especially this time of year when the river is muddy, and the debris washing down the water is of primary concern. I think anybody just stopping and walking by the river can see how muddy it is and you just can't see all the obstructions like submerged trees and limbs out there which just makes it all so dangerous this time of year to be out there on the water."

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