Boise Fire and Rescue practice on Boise River to prepare for floating season

Boise Fire practices river rescues
Posted at 4:52 PM, Jun 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-15 19:26:52-04

The Boise river is benefiting from some higher flows thanks to a wet spring.

The higher flows help Boise Fire and Rescue to do their job clearing the river for floating season. The current flow in the Boise River is more than twice as high as floating season.

"The river is at 3100 cubic feet per second. That's pretty fast, and we haven't seen that kind of flow in a number of years," said Paul Roberts, division chief for special operations at Boise Fire.

A heavier flow helps scour the bottom of the river and naturally remove snags from the river. Snags can hook a floater and pull you under. So, fire crews are practicing rescues and scouting for debris that needs to go.

Related: Water flow in the Boise River to increase this week after recent rainfalls

"You don't see them out here frowning while operating the boat and running up and down, so it's an exciting opportunity for them. They haven't seen it in a while so they're super excited about it. And in the fire service se consider it the best job in the world," says Roberts.

Already they've put their skills into action with two rescues before floating season even arrives. Flows need to be closer to 1500 CFS, but thanks to all the rain and cool temps, that probably won't happen until the end of June.

Meantime, the Boise Fire Department says stay off the river, even when temps hit 90 this week. "The water is extremely cold, and that cold water can significantly impact even the best of swimmers" said Roberts.

Also, the Army Corps of Engineers is planning a sizeable increase in river flow on the Boise before the end of the week.