Hailey neighborhood battles rising Big
By MATT FURBER
Express Staff Writer
Della View residents in Hailey scrambled
out of bed late Saturday night to fight back the Big Wood River as it jumped its
"It came up surprisingly quickly," said
War Eagle resident Dave Jensen, a veteran dike builder who fought the river the
last time it threatened the neighborhood in 1997. "A few of us were talking with
city street superintendent (Allen Stowell) Friday. Allen provided sand. I had
The city furnished bags and a pump
to help protect the Fischman residence on Triumph Streetin Hailey, which was the
most inundated by water. Express photo by Willy Cook
The river, running at 4,150 cubic feet per
second, rose over 6 feet to reach a peak flow at 7:15 Saturday morning,
according to USGS measurements taken under the bridge on Bullion Street.
Fighting the rising tide was no small
challenge. The alarm went out at 3:30 a.m.
"We were up at 4 a.m. sandbagging," said
middle school librarian Rick Dressell. "Twenty to twenty-five people were out
with lights on their heads filling bags with sand the city had dropped off."
"We monitored and put our caution signs
up," said Stowell, who acknowledged that the city can’t be in the business of
saving people’s property. "It’s real touchy, legally. As it approached a
disaster situation, we were trying to be good neighbors."
The city furnished bags and a pump to help
protect the Fischman residence on Triumph Street, which was the most inundated
"Out of something bad comes something
good," said Julie Fischman, not a little surprised by the power of the river.
"We’re very blessed to have such amazing neighbors."
The Fischman family bought their house
just over two years ago and is considering raising it on stilts.
The sandbag diversion and a channel dug
through the Lawrence Heagle Park parking lot steered the river into the Wood
River Land Trust pond, which overflowed back into the river.
"All the neighbors pulled together," said
Tex Mann of the parks department. "It was a clean set-up."
The work saved on water damage, but it
turned the pond brown, raising concern that the flood would impact the
state-wide free fishing day Saturday.
"At this point we are still planning on
stocking the Hailey pond," said Fish and Game regional conservation educator,
Kelton Hatch. "If it does fall through, there will still be events at the
Hayspur fish hatchery near Picabo."
Meanwhile, if all goest well, children
under 10 and their guardians are invited to the free fishing derby on Saturday,
June 7, from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the new Riverside Pond at Heagle Park in
Hailey. The first 100 children will receive a free fishing pole, compliments of
the Chateau Drug and the Wood River Land Trust. It is also Free Fishing Day
across Idaho, so adults will not need a fishing license to participate.
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game will
stock the newly created Riverside Pond with rainbow trout. Casting
demonstrations will be held from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. The derby will occur from 10
a.m. to 11 a.m. At 11:30 a.m. prizes from Guffy’s and Read All About It Books
will be awarded. Please bring your own bait.
The Riverside Pond is adjacent to Heagle
Park in Hailey’s Della View subdivision. To get there, turn on to Cedar Street
from Highway 75 in Hailey. Continue straight and follow the signs to Heagle
Park. Additional parking is available at the LDS Church. People are encouraged
to walk or bike to Heagle Park, as parking is limited.