Smoke Leads To Statewide Air Quality Advisory In Idaho

Sep 6, 2017

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

As some areas of Idaho reached the purple, or very unhealthy air quality category Tuesday, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality had measured smoke everywhere that the DEQ has monitors in the state.

That lead to the statewide advisory, which means all open burning is now off limits.

“All fires are prohibited, so no campfires allowed anywhere in the state of Idaho right now,” says David Luft, the Air Quality Manager for the Boise Regional Office of the DEQ.

Luft expects a shift in the weather pattern late Thursday to early Friday. That may push the smoke coming from the Central Idaho and Western Montana fires out of the state, but it might not fix the overall problem.

“Now there’s significant fires going on in Oregon also which if we get a change in the weather pattern, we may end up getting smoke from those fires instead of where we’re getting it from now so that’s why it makes it a little difficult to see what’s going to happen a few days out,” Luft says.

The Treasure Valley hit the red or unhealthy air quality level Tuesday. If you think that's bad, keep in mind the DEQ issued purple, or very unhealthy, air quality alerts Tuesday in Clearwater, Idaho, Latah, Lewis and Nez Perce counties.

Luft says that may be the pattern for a while.

“Until there’s some weather that helps to calm the fires down, we’re probably going to see some smoke. Whether it continues to be this bad, that’s still yet to be seen,” says Luft.

He says for the next 48 hours, stay indoors and run the air conditioner to avoid the smoke and if you have to be outside, don’t exert yourself.

Find Samantha Wright on Twitter @samwrightradio

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