News Briefs: Lake Kaweah update, shooting suspect released, fire at Cobble Knoll

Slick Rock Recreation Area at Lake Kaweah. Fast forward a week and there will be lots more water, and if Lake Kaweah reopens in time for the Memorial Day weekend, a lot more boats and people too.

Lake Kaweah reopening is ‘a date uncertain’

It’s little wonder that folks, especially now with cabin fever, park outside Lake Kaweah’s gates and the enter recreation areas along the shoreline even though it’s posted as closed. When temperatures heat up a bit and the lake level rises, many families from the Valley pack up the vehicle and head for Lake Kaweah. Even if it’s closed, or not, they will show up and at least give it a try to take a walk down by the water’s edge.

Currently, that water’s edge is gradually shrinking as the water rises. Three weeks ago, the lake level was at one-third full, two weeks ago it was one-half; this week it is two-thirds full. Phil Deffenbaugh, general manager at the USACE flood control facility, said projections are showing the lake will rise to a peak level of 150,000 acre-feet near the end of May. That translates to 80 percent of capacity, not bad for a ‘”dry year” with below-normal precipitation.

Monday and Tuesday is showing a cold storm that is expected to bring rain to the foothills and some snow to the higher mountains. Deffenbaugh said that storm should not alter the peak fill projections, just prolong the snowmelt a little while longer.

“What is certain is that there will be a big crowd of boaters and shoreline visitors hoping to visit the lake on the Memorial Day weekend,” Deffenbaugh said. “We hope to be open for the holiday weekend but we must follow the State and County guidance for reopening. Right now that’s a date uncertain.”   

↓Farewell to Spring wildflowers at Lake Kaweah. (Photos by Michael Wall of Three Rivers)↓

Shooting suspect released

In any altercation, there is always two sides to every story and apparently the arrest of Gregory Brombach of Three Rivers on May 4 was no exception. Earlier this week, Tulare County Sheriff’s Office released more information in the case. 

On May 7, Brombach was released on his own recognizance. The case was filed as PC 245 (assault with a deadly weapon). The COVID-19 crisis is disrupting courtroom schedules so Brombach, 68, won’t be arraigned for at least 30 days. 

Illegal cooking fire at Cobble Knoll 

Closed or not, Cobble Knoll attracts visitors daily. In the recent past, it’s been the scene of a deadly gang shooting and several wildfires started by visitors lighting illegal cooking fires.

On Saturday, May 9, neighbors in the vicinity of Cobble Knoll observed smoke coming from an area near the river at Holiday Falls. Something wasn’t right because that area is supposed to be closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 911 call came in at 5  p.m. and with in minutes Tulare County and CALFIRE units were at the scene. There was no fire but only excessive smoke from a barbecue. CALFIRE officers contacted to individuals that were attempting to cook and they were instructed to douse the fire and to leave the area immediately. 

There was no out-of-control fire at Cobble Knoll this time but that same area as been the scene of several wildland fires in the past. The individuals could face fines for starting an illegal fire and being in a closed area. It is unknown if CALFIRE will press charges related to the incident.  



One thought on “News Briefs: Lake Kaweah update, shooting suspect released, fire at Cobble Knoll

  • May 15, 2020 at 6:24 pm

    Citizens, Please follow-up with CALFIRE! Why wouldn’t they press charges?
    How long since anybody’s been written up for littering? We’re not enforcing the laws that are on the books. We seem to be satisfied standing by and witnessing the increasing degradation. If we’re afraid to confront the problem ourselves we should hound law enforcement. Our local deputy is doing an admirable job but I sometimes worry that he is overwhelmed and overpowered. Any other ideas?


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