Air Quality

Courtesy Idaho Department of Health and Welfare

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Fires across the West are creating a lot of smoke. That means poor air quality in many parts of our region. 

Boise National Forest

The Lodgepole Fire was a prescribed burn set in late April. The goal was to torch dry grasses and brush in an area north of Crouch, to prevent a wildfire from running loose in the forest. But over the weekend, forest managers declared it a wildfire after it failed to burn out by itself.

John Westrock / Flickr

The American Lung Association is out with its annual State of the Air report, and the findings about Idaho are mixed.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Smoke from wildfires in Idaho and neighboring states made the air so bad this week, officials declared a statewide air quality advisory. At times, the smoke brought down visibility to less than a mile and lowered air quality to the purple level – very unhealthy.


inciweb

Idaho's largest wildfire is burning entirely within a rugged central Idaho wilderness area and being allowed to play its natural role.

Officials on Wednesday say the 110-square-mile wildfire in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness is burning grass and brush in lower areas and ponderosa pine and Douglas fir at higher elevations.

Officials say they have plans in place to protect bridges, a ranch, a guard station and other high-value sites that could be threatened.

The backcountry Chamberlain Airstrip remains closed due to the lightning-caused fire.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

The entire state of Idaho is under an air quality advisory - thanks to smoke from wildfires – for the first time since August of 2015.


Matt Guilhem / Boise State Public Radio

A murky, smoky haze hung over the Treasure Valley throughout the weekend limiting visibility and wrecking air quality. The dense cloud hid the foothills and added a yellowish cast to the hot summer sun. Smoke from fires in neighboring states is parking itself over Idaho and cooking into noxious fog.

A recycling center fire that on Monday pushed air quality in Boise to unhealthy for sensitive groups is contained but will likely continue to smolder for several days.

Boise Fire Department officials say the fire that's about the size of a city block is burning wood debris in a large pit at Diamond Street Recycling.

Authorities say the fire started for unknown reasons at about 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the facility near the Boise Airport.

Pictures: Boise Covered By Smoke

Oct 14, 2015
Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

The smoke blanketing Boise from the Walker Fire near Idaho City eased up Wednesday but was still bad enough for the Boise School District to cancel outdoor activities like football games and tennis matches.

Someone flying into Boise Tuesday shared the pictures above with KBSX. Much of the valley floor is invisible under a gray/brown haze. 

Boise's Table Rock was a dim outline at about 9:00 Tuesday morning. It was a little clearer around the same time Wednesday morning from outside our studios.

NASA/Jeff Schmaltz

Monday's crisp and clear air is a welcome relief after weeks of wildfire smoke fumigated valleys around Idaho. The real-time monitor from the Department of Environmental Quality shows just how much things have improved, even in places where fires are still raging.

Winter Or Wildfires? See When Treasure Valley Air Is Most Polluted

Aug 24, 2015

The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issued an alert Monday declaring air quality unhealthy again in the Treasure Valley. The agency issued a similar alert last Thursday.  

If your shortness of breath is giving you déjà vu, you’re not alone. This summer's smoke and wildfires are approaching the numbers put up in the summers of 2007, 2012 and 2013.

Nicholas D. / Flickr

Smoke from wildfires continues to plague the Treasure Valley. Forecasters say things will get worse before they get better.

Winds are out of the northwest Friday and expected to be again Saturday. That will actually bring more smoke into the Treasure Valley.

Valerie Mills is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Boise.

U.S. Forest Service

Smoky skies, from dozens of western wildfires, have prompted the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality to issue an air quality advisory for the entire state of Idaho.

Such advisories are typically issued for individual counties or cities.

Inciweb

Forest Service researchers are taking a closer look at how wildfire smoke impacts the people most exposed to it. A five-year study will monitor the carbon monoxide levels of firefighters around the country.

IcaWise / Flickr Creative Commons

The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to release updated air quality standards for the Treasure Valley in the next two months.

The Idaho Statesman reports the Treasure Valley includes Boise, and Idaho Department of Environmental Quality regional air quality monitoring coordinator Mike Toole says ground-level ozone pollution in the area typically hits below the current standard of 75 parts per billion.

That standard is expected to decrease, but officials are unsure by how much.

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