Protecting Public Health and the Environment.

Current Wildfire Smoke Info

 

Smoke Forecast: Tuesday, July 7 through Thursday, July 9, 2015

Air quality is forecast to remain in the Good to Moderate air quality category across the state, although short-term readings will be higher in the Clearwater drainages and across the Idaho Panhandle from Benewah County north. Conditions have improved across the state in comparison to yesterday’s data. Currently, there are no air quality alerts issued by DEQ.

Moderate smoke impacts are occurring across the Idaho Panhandle and through the Hells Canyon and Clearwater drainages. This will continue in the afternoon and evening today as smoke will track to the west before turning to the east once more. Light impacts will also occur in the Lower Snake and western Magic valleys as smoke from fires burning in the Salmon River Mountains settles in overnight tonight.

Northern Idaho is under a zonal (west-east) flow pattern aloft and will remain that way through the afternoon as an upper level trough and associated surface cold front arrive early Wednesday. This upper-level system will send minor disturbances across the state allowing for scattered thunderstorms to develop across the Panhandle.  This afternoon, surface winds will wrap around to be from the north-northwest at 2-8 miles per hour while north of I-90, winds will contain a strong easterly flow component. Southern Idaho is under a convergence zone aloft as an upper-level low off the California Coast stalls and funnels monsoon moisture into the Snake River Plain. Scattered, wet thunderstorms will develop across much of the Snake River Plain this afternoon across the southern section and into the southern and southeast Highlands.  Surface winds will be from the northwest across the Snake River Plain at 5-10 mile per hour today. Near thunderstorms, expect wind gusts up to 30 miles per hour with erratic wind directions. Similar conditions are expected through Wednesday as fire activity will decrease with higher humidity values and increased cloud cover.

For air quality forecasts and wildfire activity for your area, visit the following websites:

Please be aware of and utilize the Smoke Complaint Hotline at 1-800-345-1007.

Smoke forecasts are dependent on predicted fire growth and weather.  If conditions change unexpectedly, impacts could occur. 

Air Quality Conditions

Under Idaho’s Air Pollution Emergency Rule, DEQ may issue air quality alerts when pollutant levels reach levels that endanger public health. The alerts range from Stage 1 to 4, with each stage addressing a progressively more serious air quality event and triggering certain emergency actions.

Air Quality Monitors

Note: Idaho DEQ does not have jurisdiction within the five Indian Reservations in Idaho. For air quality information on the reservations, contact the individual Tribes.

Visual Smoke Observation

Smoke forecasts are dependent on predicted fire growth and weather. If conditions change unexpectedly, impacts could occur. When visibility starts to go below 5 miles, sensitive groups should minimize outdoor activities. Everyone else should minimize prolonged or physical activity outdoors. Refer to the Smoke and Health Tab on the Idaho Smoke Information Blog for additional health information.

Your eyes are your best tools to determine if it’s safe to be outside. Even if you smell smoke, the air quality may still be good.

Visibility Range
(in miles)

Health Category

11+

Good

6-10

Moderate

3-5

Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups

1.5-2.75

Unhealthy

1-1.25

Very Unhealthy

Less than 1

Hazardous

How to estimate air quality based on visibility for areas without an air quality monitor or airport visibility estimate:

  1. Face away from the sun.
  2. Determine the limit of your visible range by looking for targets at known distances (miles).
  3. Visible range is that point at which even high contrast objects totally disappear.
  4. Use the values above to determine the local forest fire smoke category.

Health Impacts and Recommendations

Air Quality Guide for Pollution from Wildfire Smoke
A table identifying potential health effects and recommendations for appropriate exertion levels.

Recommendations for Schools and Others Responsible for Children during a Wildfire Smoke Event
A table identifying potential health effects and recommendations for childrens' exertion levels.

Wildfire Smoke: A Guide for Public Health Officials (Revised July 2008)
A guide intended to help local public health officials adequately communicate health risks and precautions to the public when smoke is present.

Emergency Preparedness and Response: Wildfires
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Website)
Information on health effects of smoke as well as other dangers associated with wildfires.

For general health questions regarding wildfire smoke, contact:
Jim Vannoy, MPH
Program Manager
Idaho Division of Public Health
Environmental Health Education and Assessment Program
(208) 334-4964

 


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Staff Contacts

Smoke Management Program Coordinator
Morrie Lewis
DEQ State Office
Air Quality Division
1410 N. Hilton
Boise, ID 83706
(208) 373-0495
morrie.lewis@deq.idaho.gov

Air Quality Meteorologist
Jacob Wolf
DEQ State Office
Air Quality Division
1410 N. Hilton
Boise, ID 83706
(208) 373-0480
jacob.wolf@deq.idaho.gov

Airshed Manager
David Luft
DEQ Boise Regional Office
1445 N. Orchard St.
Boise, ID 83706
(208) 373-0550
david.luft@deq.idaho.gov

Air Quality Manager
Mark Boyle
DEQ Coeur d'Alene Regional Office
2110 Ironwood Parkway
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814
(208) 666-4607
mark.boyle@deq.idaho.gov

Remediation and Air Quality Manager
Rensay Owen
DEQ Idaho Falls Regional Office
900 N. Skyline Drive, Suite B
Idaho Falls, ID 83402
(208) 528-2650
rensay.owen@deq.idaho.gov

Air Quality Manager
Amber Rand
DEQ Lewiston Regional Office
1118 "F" St.
Lewiston, ID 83501
(208) 799-4370
amber.rand@deq.idaho.gov

Air Quality Manager
Thomas Edwards
DEQ Pocatello Regional Office
444 Hospital Way #300
Pocatello, ID 83201
(208) 236-6160
thomas.edwards@deq.idaho.gov

Remediation and Air Quality Manager
Bobby Dye
DEQ Twin Falls Regional Office
650 Addison Avenue West, Suite 110
Twin Falls, ID 83301
(208) 736-2190
bobby.dye@deq.idaho.gov

Related Pages

Particulate Matter

Wildland Fires

Air Pollution Emergencies