In two days, hundreds of athletes will take to the waters of Lake Coeur d'Alene and begin the 13th annual IRONMAN triathlon. Since Monday, race organizers and weather officials have been keeping a close eye Sunday's forecast. Temperatures are expected to exceed 100 degrees, making this annual race the hottest in Coeur d'Alene history.
It's a big concern for people like Coeur d'Alene Deputy Fire Chief Tom Greif.
"The scenario probably couldn't get any worse," says Greif.
To account for the hundreds of competitors on race day, the Coeur d'Alene Fire Department is bringing in 50 additional crew members, some from different fire stations to handle the big race. This doesn't include the regular crews working a normal shift that day.
"Our experience is telling us that we're going to be at full demand that day."
Greif says they will be presented with a number of challenges: The race, any fires that break out and the largest event in the city all happening at the same time. In normal situations they would rely on the help of outlying stations like Spokane Valley, but they have their hands busy with the equally large event, Hoopfest in Spokane on that same day.
"It's definitely going to be tough."
The last time Greif saw temperatures like this during IRONMAN was in 2003. It was 10 degrees cooler than what's predicted for Sunday and they still made more than 130 transports. But Greif isn't alone, his crews will be met by more than 250 volunteers from various hospitals working in medical tents throughout the race.