Bakersfield firefighters issued a "precautionary alert" urging people to stay out of the swift-flowing Kern River following a month in which they've conducted 17 water rescues.

"The Kern River is hazardous for those not properly trained in special water navigation techniques or not accompanied by trained river guides," firefighters said in a news release.

There have been at least six deaths on the river this year, according to the release.

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