Eagle Fire Department battling fires and floods

Posted at 5:19 PM, May 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-15 19:19:43-04

Record-setting river flows are expected in the coming days as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers increased the flow rates on the Boise River Monday. 

When the river reaches 9,500 CFS, expected Tuesday, it will be the second highest flow rate ever recorded from the Glenwood Bridge on the Boise River. 

Emergency management teams are monitoring the river in Eagle where more homes could be at risk this week. 

"Every four hours, the crews that are on duty have different geographical areas that they're responsible for, so they're out patrolling the river," Eagle Fire Department Battalion Chief Rob Shoplock said.

Though the Eagle Fire Department is used to a little flooding every spring, the unprecedented flooding this year has firefighters on high alert.

"We're cresting 9,000 CFS," Shoplock said. "It's one of the highest on record in history, so everyone's on edge."

Along with their patrols, crews are looking out for the residents of Eagle by providing help and instruction on filling and stacking sandbags as well as going on an increasing number of house calls in flooding areas.

Shoplock said they are making it a point to tell homeowners and those picking up sandbags at the station to only use sandbags around doors, garages and crawl spaces. Shoplock said it isn't necessary to place sandbags around an entire property, yet, they've seen residents do just that. 

Even with all the water, Shoplock said fire season is just heating up. 

"This type of year, as we're starting to see warmer wather, we're starting to get more grass fires as well," he said. "So you might have resources tied up on one incident as you have another incident going."

In that case, crews want to make sure they can get to all possible emergencies.

"It's not necessarily the water on the roadways, it's what if there's a fire plus we have the water on the roadways and we're trying to get people in and also evacuate at the same time," Shoplock said.

Managing the flooding doesn't fall on the fire department alone.

"The sheriff's department, the fire department, emergency management, everybody is working as one big team, and the information that comes from Boise is getting disseminated all the way down to Caldwell," Shoplock said.