Boise & Garden City

Faced with neighbor push-back, Boise will reconsider Foothills weather station

People living along the north side of Fort Boise Military Reserve were startled recently when a fence went up around a small square piece of ground on a ridge near the Elephant Rock trail.

Their resistance to a plan to build a weather station inside that fence has led to a decision by the Boise Parks and Recreation Commission to reconsider it. The Commission voted in September 2014 to approve the project.

The commission is scheduled to discuss the topic March 19. The reason for the second meeting is to give neighbors another chance to comment on the project, Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Amy Stahl said.

The station would be the first Remote Automated Weather Station in the Boise Foothills, according to a city news release. This type of station monitors the weather and provides real-time data for firefighters, fire managers and fire-weather forecasters to determine potential fire behavior, fuel-moisture content and other weather-related information. The equipment also helps gather information for research purposes.

The station would include a 20-foot mast and instruments for measuring wind speed and direction, temperature, humidity, fuel moisture and precipitation, according to a Parks and Recreation news release. A powder-coated security fence protects the equipment from vandalism.

Working with the Bureau of Land Management, the City of Boise Wildfire Mitigation Team picked the Military Reserve site based on factors such as line-of-sight for communication with firefighters, a ridgeline location that is representative of Boise’s wildland-urban interface weather conditions, reduced viewshed impact to homeowners, level ground, limited dust interference, and ease of access for maintenance and education.

Mary Alice Glen, who lives on Horizon Drive on the northern edge of Military Reserve, said she can’t see the fence from her house. She said she still doesn’t want it in the designated location because it’s ugly and will detract from an iconic view of Boise from the north.

During the March 19 meeting, representatives from the Boise Fire Department will present information about the weather station, location options and the reasons Military Reserve was the preferred site. The commission can reaffirm the decision made in September, suggest an alternative site or request more analysis of possible locations.

For more information, visit the Parks and Recreation website or call (208) 608-7600.