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Wildfire Smoke

Large and catastrophic wildfires are becoming more frequent in the western US due to temperature increases, expanding wildland-urban interface, and fuel buildup.

Smoke from these large wildfires threatens air quality, health, the environment, and the economy.

When smoke from wildfires threatens Idaho, DEQ implements the Wildfire Smoke Event Response Protocol, which allows for interagency coordination with the following organizations:

Idaho AgenciesFederal AgenciesTribal AgenciesOther State Agencies
Department of Health and WelfareBureau of Land ManagementCoeur d’Alene TribeMontana Department of Environmental Quality
Public Health DistrictsNational Park ServiceKootenai Tribe of IdahoOregon Department of Environmental Quality
State Emergency Medical Services Communications CenterNational Weather ServiceShoshone-Bannock TribesWashington Department of Ecology
Emergency Fire DispatchUS Environmental Protection AgencyShoshone-Paiute Tribes 
 US Forest ServiceNez Perce Tribe 

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DEQ provides a smoke forecast when wildfire smoke impacts Idaho. This forecast includes possible smoke impacts, air quality advisories, and issued burn bans.

We coordinate with county, state, tribal, and federal agencies to provide wildfire smoke information on the Idaho Smoke Blog.

Annually we summarize Idaho’s most recent wildfire season and compare it with past wildfire seasons. Information on emissions from wildfires, air quality during the wildfire season, historical data on past wildfire seasons, and what outreach DEQ conducted during the season is available in the Idaho’s Year in Wildfire, and the summary of wildfire emissions in the Idaho Wildfire Emissions Estimates 2023 Wildfire Season

The best time to prepare for wildfire smoke is before the wildfire season. Take action to protect yourself and reduce your smoke exposure:

For general health questions about wildfire smoke, contact the Idaho Division of Public Health’s Environmental Health Program Manager at (800) 445-8647, or visit the Department of Health and Welfare Wildfire Smoke page.

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In 2019, an interagency team, consisting of the California Air Resources Board, California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Forest Service, and US Environmental Protection Agency updated the Wildfire Smoke: A Guide for Public Health Officials. This guide helps state, tribal, and local public health officials prepare for smoke events and take measures to protect the public during wildfire events.

EPA developed a Smoke-Ready Toolbox for Wildfires to help public health professionals educate the public about the risk of smoke exposure and actions to take that protect public health.

EPA also developed an online Wildfire Smoke and Your Patients’ Health course for physicians, registered nurses, asthma educators, and clinical or health education officials. Learn more about online training for health professionals.

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