Additionally, Mayor Bieter made a plea to Boise residents and visitors to simply stay away from the Boise River and Greenbelt altogether. On Thursday, the Boise Fire Department posted a “dangerous river conditions” warning along the length of the river in the city. Also, flood conditions have forced the city’s Parks and Recreation Department to close eight sections of the Greenbelt, the popular 25-mile long bike and pedestrian path that runs along both sides of the Boise River through the city.
Current Boise River flows exceed 8,000 cubic feet per second making conditions extremely dangerous to people and pets. Because of this winter’s deep snow pack, these conditions are expected to remain into June, at least.
“It is unprecedented to have river flows so high for so long, which makes our situation very unpredictable,” Mayor Bieter said. “We are already beginning to see significant bank erosion in many areas and we are concerned that unforeseen hazards may begin popping up. So please, stay away from the river and the Greenbelt altogether.”
Signs are posted all along the river corridor reminding Greenbelt users of the dangerous conditions and Greenbelt closures. City public safety officials also reminded residents and others that they could be held responsible by the city for costs incurred during a rescue on the river, as per city code.
“River rescues are very difficult and dangerous under current circumstances,” said Boise Fire Chief Dennis Doan. “While no one ever intends to get in trouble on the river, people should remember that first responders put their own lives at risk during a rescue. And under these conditions those dangers are very high.”
While there are no large-scale threats to public safety and property at this time, the local emergency declaration gives the city and its staff more flexibility to react and move quickly in procuring resources should the situation escalate. The City of Boise and partner agencies, including Ada County Emergency Management, will continue to assess the situation and work together to communicate with residents through all available channels. Up to date flood information can be found on the Ada County Emergency Management website.
The local emergency declaration is currently set to expire in seven days. However, the measure will be taken up by the Boise City Council this Tuesday during their regular meeting to be ratified and extended indefinitely.