Ketchum's Air Quality "Hazardous," Treasure Valley Gets More Smoke

Aug 14, 2013

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is warning people in the Wood River Valley to stay indoors and avoid physical activity. This comes after smoke from nearby wildfires has engulfed the area. The Beaver Creek Fire is burning just southwest of Ketchum in the Sawtooth National Forest.

Credit Anne Jefferey / InciWeb

In the Treasure Valley, the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) says air quality is unhealthy for sensitive groups, including infants, the elderly, and people with asthma and heart disease.

Here are some tips for staying safe in these areas:

Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated helps dilute phlegm in the respiratory tract, making it easier to cough out smoke particles. Plan on coughing; it is nature’s way of clearing your lungs. Avoid caffeine products, sugary drinks and alcohol because they have a dehydrating effect.

Stay cool if the weather is warm. Run your air conditioner to recirculate air. Turn the fan blower on manually so it continuously filters the air in your home.

For homes without a central heating and/or cooling system, use portable air purifiers to remove particles. Air purifiers that utilize HEPA filters are best; avoid using air purifiers that produce ozone. Visit areas in your community that have air conditioning, such as a library.

If you wear contact lenses, switch to eyeglasses in a smoky environment. - Dept. of Health and Welfare

They also caution drivers to be careful, since smoke could be affecting visibility.