Protecting Public Health and the Environment.

Current Wildfire Smoke Info


Smoke Forecast

Friday, September 19 through Monday, September 22, 2014

The areas of concern today will be focused on the Hells Canyon and McCall region of the state. There is transport of smoke from fires burning in California and Oregon that is moving into the southern portion of the state. It should be noted that widespread haze and light smoke is forecast across most of southern Idaho in the Snake River Plain and south today. Smoke impacts were relatively widespread yesterday as DEQ’s monitors were slightly elevated into the Moderate category across all of monitors in the Twin Falls, Boise, Lewiston, and Coeur d’Alene Regional Offices (except in Boundary County). The Grangeville monitor reported a 24-hour AQI of Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups yesterday. The Salmon monitor also reported impacts and was in the Moderate category yesterday.

Smoke impacts today will continue to be strongest in the Treasure Valley and McCall region. Smoke will settle into the drainages again this evening. The Garden Valley and Idaho City regions look to receive decent transport of smoke from the Freeze Out Ridge fire this evening. Higher values should be expected in the morning before the inversion breaks. The transport winds will continue to shift today and Saturday and have a strong westerly component. The zonal wind pattern and the decrease in fire activity last night will help limit the intensity of any smoke impacts today and tomorrow morning, especially across the Clearwater Drainage. By Saturday, an easterly-southeasterly wind develops and will transport smoke back into the Clearwater Drainage. Transport of smoke from the fires in California will be very limited, if occurring at all, due to the position of the upper level low pressure system. This should lead to a reprieve in the southern parts of the state this weekend and into Monday.  

Weather Conditions

The upper level low pressure system is currently located over California and will move to the northeast as we go through the weekend. An upper level ridge will build over northern Idaho today and tomorrow. The clear skies will bring warmer days as well as potentially strong nocturnal inversions as temperatures will be able to drop quite rapidly near rivers and lakes. This pattern begins to shift to a more progressive pattern on Monday; however, confidence is low in any weak disturbances that pass through the northern part of the state until a strong cold front moves in on Tuesday. Across southern Idaho, the upper level low will approach the state by Sunday. This will bring a chance of showers to the southwest. 

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 Map

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






Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups




Very Unhealthy

Less than 1


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
Mary Anderson
DEQ State Office
Air Quality Division
1410 N. Hilton
Boise, ID 83706
(208) 373-0202

Air Quality Meteorologist
Jacob Wolf
DEQ State Office
Air Quality Division
1410 N. Hilton
Boise, ID 83706
(208) 373-0480

Airshed Manager
David Luft
DEQ Boise Regional Office
1445 N. Orchard St.
Boise, ID 83706
(208) 373-0550

Air Quality Manager
Mark Boyle
DEQ Coeur d'Alene Regional Office
2110 Ironwood Parkway
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814
(208) 666-4607

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

Air Quality Manager
Amber Rand
DEQ Lewiston Regional Office
1118 "F" St.
Lewiston, ID 83501
(208) 799-4370

Air Quality Manager
Thomas Edwards
DEQ Pocatello Regional Office
444 Hospital Way #300
Pocatello, ID 83201
(208) 236-6160

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

Related Pages

Particulate Matter

Wildland Fires

Air Pollution Emergencies