Many mornings throughout the summer, Boisians can look up and see the skyline scattered with brightly colored hot air balloons. But this summer, they have been absent.
Scott Spencer, owner of Lighter Than Air America, grew up in Boise and has been flying hot air balloons for 40 years. He says even in the early mornings, it’s too hot to fly.
“We’re pretty much spent the entire month of July on the ground,” Spencer says. “And you know, they’re so iconic and we get so many phone calls of people asking where they are and that’s the reason: it’s simply the heat. It just isn’t safe.”
Right now, the air above Boise is even hotter than the air close to the ground. And this is affecting business.
Last year, Bruce Patterson started the High Desert Balloon Company, offering rides to the public in a massive balloon that seats eight. Out of July’s 31 days, he only got to fly three of them.
Those customers who can’t fly have to be rebooked, which frustrates both Patterson, and his clients.
“This our business, this is what we do for a living. This is our income,” Patterson says. “So it’s not like I don’t want to fly. I just have to be safe about it.”
But Patterson says so far August has already been cooler and safer for flying.
Spencer hopes the weather will cool for the 21st annual Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic over Labor Day weekend. Forty balloons will scatter the skies for the event.