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121615 clark fork kw

“As recreational pressure has increased (on the Clark Fork River), so has the amount of bank destabilization,” says Morgan Valliant, the city’s conservation lands manager.

The Missoula Fire Department deployed its rescue boats Tuesday afternoon after a man overturned his canoe on the Clark Fork River and became stranded on an island.

The department responded to an area of the river downstream from the Reserve Street bridge after the man called 911 shortly after 5 p.m. The rescue craft were launched from McCormick Park and headed downstream, while a crew on a fire engine stationed themselves off Third Street.

A Life Flight helicopter was also called in to help locate the man, although it was not used to recover him. Fire department personnel found the man on a small island, reporting that he had only minor injuries.

The man was then transported across the river to shore at an access point near Grove Street.

The Missoula County Sheriff’s Office and an ambulance from Missoula Emergency Services also responded to the incident.

Battalion Chief Derek Mullins wrote in a news release that recent warm weather has caused a significant increase the flow rate of rivers and streams around Missoula, and that pace is only expected to pick up. Peak runoff periods for the Missoula area are in June and Mullins advised people to stay off the river until the flow rate is more manageable and equal to a person's experience level.

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Law and Justice Reporter

Crime reporter for the Missoulian.