Idaho DEQ Issues Air Alert For Entire State

Aug 19, 2015

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.

But the DEQ says air quality is either Moderate or Unhealthy for most of the state. This is expected to continue for the next 24 to 36 hours. The advisory lasts until 2 p.m. Thursday afternoon. At that time, DEQ will reevaluate the air conditions on a county-by-county basis.

Under the advisory, all open burning is prohibited. That includes campfires, recreational fires, weed burning and residential burning. The advisory does not include Indian reservations. It also does not apply to firefighters working to suppress fires.

The advisory is considered to be a Stage 1 or Caution level. That’s from a four stage scale the DEQ uses to define progressively more serious air quality events. Stage 1 is the lowest, while Stage 4 is an Emergency situation. Each stage has more restrictions designed to help improve air quality.

Moderate air quality can affect people with pre-existing heart and lung disease. Unhealthy includes that group, along with the elderly and children. Everyone in an Unhealthy area should limit outdoor exertion.

The DEQ says the smoke is coming from fires in Idaho, Washington, Oregon and California.

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