Idaho Smoke Map

Idaho Smoke Map Legend

**(Preliminary Data Warning: Data found on the map shown below is preliminary and is subject to change. Data is in local standard time format - no adjustment for daylight savings time. The map is not able to display the temporary monitors. Check the AIR QUALITY NOW tab below for links for these monitors.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

07/22/14 Idaho DEQ Smoke Forecast

Updated 0900 MDT Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Valid through Noon MDT Thursday, July 24, 2014

Smoke Outlook

Most of Idaho has maintained Good levels of air quality except for north Idaho, which is currently experiencing Moderate conditions this morning due to the fires burning in Washington.  Even with periods of Moderate, the 24hr AQI was in the Good category except for Boise for all DEQ sites.

The upper level low off the coast of Washington will funnel a jet max through most of Idaho, providing plenty of shear and energy for thunderstorms this afternoon.  Eastern Idaho will only see isolated storms as this flow pattern is tracking more north than northeast.  Coupled with monsoon moisture, precipitation amounts of 0.5” are likely from these storms.  Strong surface winds of around 40 mph are also forecast with these thunderstorms.  A Red Flag Warning has been issued across southwest Idaho for this lightning.

Similar unsettled weather can be expected on Wednesday with a shift Wednesday night.  A strong cold front will pass bringing gusty winds and cool temperatures.  By Thursday this upper level low will have moved east of the Rockies, leaving Idaho in a position of westerly winds which will bring more smoke from Oregon and Washington fires into the state.

Smoke impacts today will be primarily contained to northern Idaho, although intrusions into eastern and southeastern Idaho and then the Snake River Plain via fires in Utah are possible this evening.  Overall, light impacts are expected across the state as this smoke is transported aloft.  Expect similar impacts tomorrow and likely slightly more haze and high smoke by Thursday.

View DEQ near-real time monitoring at:  http://airquality.deq.idaho.gov/

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. 

AQI Category
Visibility (miles)
Good
11+
Moderate
6-10
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
3-5
Unhealthy
1½  -2¾
Very Unhealthy
1-1¼ 
Hazardous
Less than 1


Monday, July 21, 2014

07/21/14 Idaho DEQ Smoke Forecast

Updated 1000 MDT Monday, July 21, 2014

Valid through Noon MDT Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Smoke Outlook

Most of Idaho has improved greatly since the end of last week with all sites experiencing large improvements on Sunday compared to Friday and Saturday.  Garden Valley continues to see impacts from the Whiskey Complex and has maintained a 24hr AQI of Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Clearing is expected this afternoon across Idaho except in Garden Valley due to the proximity of the Whiskey Complex.  Garden Valley has shown consistent build-up to brief periods of Hazardous until the inversion breaks and clearing brings concentrations back to the Good category.

An upper level low pressure system is approaching the Pacific Northwest which is amplifying a ridge of high pressure over the Rockies.  This will continue to force a stream of monsoon moisture across Idaho today and tomorrow.  There is a chance of light rain and thunderstorms across all of Idaho south of a line running from Hells Canyon to Missoula.  There is a Red Flag Warning for high wind speeds and scattered (30-50% chance) of thunderstorms in the Sawtooth Range with a Fire Weather Watch for the Western Payette National Forest.  Southwest flow aloft today will transport smoke to the northeast today and have a stronger northerly component tomorrow as the low approaches the coast.  Thunderstorms and instability look to continue through Tuesday across all of the state.  Surface winds are forecast to be generally from the west-southwest at 5-15 mph with locally northeast flow in the Treasure Valley and light and variable wind directions in the Clearwater drainage.  Gusty winds are likely near thunderstorms with southern and southeastern Idaho forecast to see gusts near 25 mph.  Mixing heights will range from 2,000-6,000ft AGL today with mid-level moisture capping vertical movement lower than last week.

Smoke impacts today will be high near fires in the Central Mountains.  Transport of smoke from fires burning in Oregon and Washington will be the primary contributors today.  Smoke and haze is likely over most of northern Idaho from I-90 and north due to fires burning in Washington.   The Clearwater and Lower Salmon drainages should also experience some light impacts and hazy skies in the afternoon due to fires in Oregon and the Pittsburgh Fire.  Smoke from the Whiskey Complex is forecast to move to the northeast, likely creating high smoke and haze in the Salmon area.  Finally, the Lower Treasure Valley may also see impacts this evening as nocturnal drainage flow brings smoke into the valley from Oregon.

View DEQ near-real time monitoring at:  http://airquality.deq.idaho.gov/

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. 

AQI Category
Visibility (miles)
Good
11+
Moderate
6-10
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
3-5
Unhealthy
1½  -2¾
Very Unhealthy
1-1¼ 
Hazardous
Less than 1


Friday, July 18, 2014

07/18/14 Idaho DEQ Smoke Forecast

Updated 0900 MDT Friday, July 18, 2014

Valid through Noon MDT Monday, July 21, 2014

Smoke Outlook

Garden Valley continues to see impacts from the Whiskey Complex.  Overnight values were consistent with what has been observed the past 2 nights in Garden Valley with slightly lower readings in Idaho City.  The Boise area was elevated overnight compared to previous nights.  Idaho City was in the Unhealthy category yesterday while Garden Valley and Boise were both in the Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups yesterday.  North Idaho from St. Maries north experienced moderate level impacts from the fires in Washington; however, by mid-morning, the entire state was experiencing impacts to a varying degree except for the region south of a line running from Twin Falls-Driggs.  Afternoon heating allowed the smoke to rise and disperse.   

The weather will be similar to yesterday with west-northwest winds aloft and warm and dry conditions across the state.  There is a slight chance for thunder along the Nevada-Idaho border this afternoon.  Expect locally breezy winds this afternoon with gusts from 15-25 mph across the Snake River Plain and 10-17 mph north of the Clearwater.  A red flag warning for the Middle and Upper Snake River Plain has been issued for this afternoon.  Mixing heights will range from 4,000-9,000ft AGL with lower heights in the northern portion of the state.

Late Sunday, the upper level wind pattern shifts to a southwest flow, which will move smoke north of the Snake River Plain and allow monsoon moisture back into southern Idaho.  Warm conditions will persist through Sunday with a chance for showers late Sunday/early Monday in southern Idaho. 

In north Idaho, this weekend will start with higher humidity levels as subtropical moisture is transported into the area ahead of a Saturday cold front.  This front will create dry conditions for Sunday with a chance for an upper level shortwave to impact on Monday; however, this system is tracking along the border and is trending to move northeast rather than east. 

Smoke impacts today will be high near fires in the Central Mountains.  Transport of smoke from fires burning in Oregon and Washington will be the primary contributors today.  A very consistent pattern has developed over the last 18 hours in the models indicating clear zonal advection of smoke.  Expect all areas of Idaho to be hazy except a swath running along a line from McCall-Bannock Pass and Lewiston-Lolo Pass.  The Whiskey Complex is planning a burnout if weather and fireline work is conducive.

This weekend may see a slight reprieve in northern Idaho as wetter conditions may limit fire activity in Washington.  The wind shift to southwest on Sunday will likely introduce smoke from the Oregon fires into the Clearwater while fire in the Boise National Forest will advect smoke towards the Salmon-Challis region.  The timing of this wind shift will determine the strength of these impacts as an afternoon wind shift will keep the smoke aloft while an evening or nighttime shift may bring the smoke overhead just as heights lower and temperatures drop.


View DEQ near-real time monitoring at:  http://airquality.deq.idaho.gov/

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. 


AQI Category
Visibility (miles)
Good
11+
Moderate
6-10
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
3-5
Unhealthy
1½  -2¾
Very Unhealthy
1-1¼ 
Hazardous
Less than 1

Smoke is becoming an issue statewide; public health officials expand advisory


                        www.healthandwelfare.idaho.gov


NEWS RELEASE--FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                        Date: July 17, 2014

Contact:  Niki Forbing-Orr
Public Information Officer
(208) 334-0693


Smoke is becoming an issue statewide; public health officials expand advisory

Smoke from wildfires in Idaho and neighboring states is affecting the air quality in nearly every Idaho community, and public health officials are reminding residents to be aware of the conditions so they can take proper precautions. Air quality in the Treasure Valley is fluctuating and is reaching unhealthy levels at times, and most air quality monitoring across Idaho is currently showing levels in the moderate range. Conditions aren’t expected to change significantly through the weekend.

“As wildfire season continues, air quality will change depending on weather patterns and wildfire activity,” said Jim Vannoy, environmental health manager for the Department of Health and Welfare. “Idahoans should be aware of this and check air quality on a regular basis so they can take appropriate actions if they are planning to work or exercise outside. We’re especially concerned about people who might be more sensitive than most to the smoke in the air.”

Older adults, infants, children and people with medical conditions such as asthma, lung disease, and heart disease are more sensitive to poor air quality. People who use inhalers for asthma or other conditions should keep them close at hand. Everyone is advised to seek medical treatment for uncontrolled coughing, wheezing, choking, or if breathing difficulties continues after they move indoors.

To reduce exposure to smoke to protect people’s health, public health officials advise: 
  • Everyone should avoid heavy work or exercise outdoors when the air quality index reaches unhealthy levels.
  • Visibility can help determine air quality if there is no monitor in your area. If visibility is reduced to less than five miles, sensitive groups should limit activity. If visibility is reduced to less than three miles, air quality is considered unhealthy for everyone. Visibility of less than one mile is considered hazardous and everyone should avoid all physical activity outdoors.
  • Older adults, small children, and those with respiratory conditions or heart disease may be more sensitive to poor air quality and should stay indoors and avoid heavy work when air quality reaches unhealthy levels.
  • Stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Staying hydrated helps dilute phlegm in the respiratory tract, making it easier to cough out smoke particles. Plan to cough; it is nature’s way of clearing your lungs. Avoid caffeine products, sugary drinks and alcohol because they have a dehydrating effect.
  • Stay cool if the weather is warm. Run your air conditioner to re-circulate air. Turn the fan blower to manual so it continuously filters the air in your home.
  • For homes without a central heating and/or cooling system, use portable air purifiers to remove particles (air purifiers that utilize HEPA filters are best; avoid using air purifiers that produce ozone). Visit places in your community that have air conditioning, such as a library.
  • If you wear contact lenses, switch to eyeglasses in a smoky environment.

For more complete information about wildfires in your area, updates on air quality conditions and more resources, visit the Idaho Smoke Information Blog.  

Thursday, July 17, 2014

07/17/14 Idaho DEQ Smoke Forecast

Updated 1000 MDT Thursday, July 17, 2014

Valid through Noon MDT Friday, July 18, 2014

Smoke Outlook

Garden Valley continues to see impacts from the Whiskey Complex; however not to the same extent as Idaho City.  Idaho City only received 6 hours of clearing last night and is currently experiencing heavy impacts.  Idaho City is forecast to be Unhealthy For Sensitive Groups today.  Satellite imagery indicates that smoke has settled in drainage basins from the Clearwater south to the Lower Snake River Plain.  The Treasure Valley is currently experiencing smoke impacts from the Whiskey Complex as well as smoke advected into the area from Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. The north Idaho Panhandle is also currently experiencing impacts from the Canadian and Washington fires with all DEQ monitors reporting elevated concentrations this morning except for a cluster from the eastern Magic Valley to Pocatello and south to the Utah border.  High afternoon temperatures and high mixing heights will cause this smoke to lift and clear out this afternoon before settling once the sun sets.

The weather is currently playing out as forecasts indicated yesterday with winds aloft becoming slightly more westerly with slower wind speeds as high pressure settles in overhead.  Surface winds will follow the terrain and be from the west-northwest in the Treasure Valley and west-southwest from Magic Valley east to the Upper Snake River Plain.  A weak wave and associated frontal passage will move over Idaho today.  There is a slight chance for thunderstorms along the Idaho-Nevada border this afternoon as well as in eastern Idaho generally northeast of a line from Clayton to Blackfoot to Alpine, Wyoming.  These storms provide the potential for frequent lightning and gusty winds around 50 mph.  By Friday, monsoon moisture may leak into Idaho along the Utah border this afternoon providing a chance for isolated storms.  Temperatures will be hot today with a slight cooling tomorrow.  This pattern of westerly flow is forecast to stay over Idaho through Saturday. 

Smoke impacts today are forecast to be higher and more widespread as westerly flow will provide transport of Oregon and Washington wildfires into Idaho.  There have been several holdover fires in the Boise National Forest that will need to be watched for future impacts.  Expect to see smoke and haze across most of the state today.

View DEQ near-real time monitoring at:  http://airquality.deq.idaho.gov/

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. 

AQI Category
Visibility (miles)
Good
11+
Moderate
6-10
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
3-5
Unhealthy
1½  -2¾
Very Unhealthy
1-1¼ 
Hazardous
Less than 1

Wildfires cause unhealthy air quality in central Idaho Mountains

NEWS RELEASE--FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                        Date: July 16, 2014

Contact:  Niki Forbing-Orr
Public Information Officer
(208) 334-0693


Wildfires cause unhealthy air quality
in central Idaho mountains
Outdoor activities should be limited in those areas
Air quality in Garden Valley and the Idaho City area has reached an “Unhealthy” designation, and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s Division of Public Health is alerting people to limit outdoor activity. Because of wildfire activity and weather patterns, air quality conditions are not expected to significantly improve through this week.
People exposed to smoke may experience symptoms such as coughing and shortness of breath. Older adults, infants, children and people with medical conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and heart disease are often more affected. People who use inhalers for asthma or other conditions should keep them close at hand. Everyone experiencing uncontrolled coughing, wheezing, choking, or difficulty breathing after moving back indoors should seek medical treatment.To reduce your exposure to smoke and protect your health, public health officials advise:

·        Everyone should avoid heavy work or exercise outdoors when the air quality index reaches unhealthy levels.

·        Older adults, small children, and those with respiratory conditions or heart disease may be more sensitive to poor air quality and should stay indoors and avoid heavy work when air quality reaches levels that are unhealthy for sensitive groups.

·        Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated helps dilute phlegm in the respiratory tract, making it easier to cough out smoke particles. Plan on coughing; it is nature’s way of clearing your lungs. Avoid caffeine products, sugary drinks and alcohol because they have a dehydrating effect.

·        Stay cool if the weather is warm. Run your air conditioner to recirculate air. Turn the fan blower on manually so it continuously filters the air in your home.

·        For homes without a central heating and/or cooling system, use portable air purifiers to remove particles. Air purifiers that utilize HEPA filters are best; avoid using air purifiers that produce ozone. Visit buildings in your community that have air conditioning, such as a library or a movie theater.

·        If you wear contact lenses, switch to eyeglasses in a smoky environment.

Not all areas of the state have air quality monitors, so people are encouraged to be cautious if visibility is affected because of smoke and particulates from wildfires. If visibility is reduced to less than eight miles, sensitive groups should limit activity. If visibility is reduced to less than three miles, air quality is considered unhealthy for everyone.

For more complete information about wildfires in your area, daily updates on air quality conditions and more resources, visit the Idaho Smoke Information Blog

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

07/16/14 Idaho DEQ Smoke Forecast

Updated 0900 MDT Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Valid through Noon MDT Thursday, July 17, 2014

Smoke Outlook

Garden Valley continues to be impacted by smoke from the Whiskey Complex to the southeast.  Air quality was in the moderate AQI category yesterday.  The air quality today is forecast to be slightly worse than yesterday.  Air quality is worse in the morning before improving in the afternoon and early evening hours and degrading again once the sun sets.  Yesterday, periods of Very Unhealthy were observed before clearing out the Good after noon.  Garden Valley is forecast to be Moderate today with periods of Unhealthy and Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups in the morning.  Idaho City is currently experiencing periods of Unhealthy air quality before improving in the afternoon due to impacts from the Whiskey Complex. 

The northwest flow aloft will slowly transition to westerly flow by Thursday.  High pressure will dominate the area over the next two days which will bring warm temperatures and slow surface wind speeds.  The shift to westerly, or zonal, flow will continue to limit any influx of monsoon moisture from the Southwest into Idaho.  This will limit potential thunderstorms through Saturday.

Across the Snake River Plain, winds will be light and generally from the southwest with a strong southerly component over the Upper Snake River Plain.  Wind speeds at the surface will range from 2-10 mph with terrain-driven winds through tonight.  Gusts across the Treasure Valley will reach 15 mph late this afternoon.  Transport winds from the northwest at 5-15 mph.  Mixing heights will range from 7,000-10,000ft AGL this afternoon.  The lower heights and slower wind speeds of these ranges are expected across the Lower and Middle Snake River Plain this afternoon with higher heights and faster wind speeds across the Upper Snake River Plain.  Coupled with daytime heating, this will allow for decent mixing this afternoon. 

Smoke impacts today are forecast to be higher than yesterday in the Treasure Valley and western Magic Valley as surface winds look to be lighter and inversion break times are forecast to be later in the day today.  Inversion break time is forecast to be between 11am and 1pm today across southern Idaho.  This will allow smoke to build at the surface this morning.  Smoke from the fires in the West Central Mountains will continue to impact the local communities in Garden Valley and Idaho City.  Drainage winds are forecast to transport the smoke into the eastern Treasure Valley this morning before moving to the southeast.  Coupled with local fires, transport from Oregon may provide some hazy skies aloft with the possibility of this smoke settling in the Treasure Valley this evening once the sun sets.   The Pittsburgh Fire, 22 miles NW of Riggins can be expected to generate light impacts to communities along the I-95 Corridor from Grangeville to Weiser.


Expect to see light smoke and haze across most of the state today with the southeast being the only region spared.  Smoke from fires in Washington and Canadian British Columbia are forecast transport across northern and central Idaho by 5pm this evening.  Impacts from these sources are expected to be light.  This upper level smoke will likely be a larger contributor Thursday and Friday as the weather pattern shifts to a more zonal flow.

View DEQ near-real time monitoring at:  http://airquality.deq.idaho.gov/

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. 

AQI Category
Visibility (miles)
Good
11+
Moderate
6-10
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
3-5
Unhealthy
1½  -2¾
Very Unhealthy
1-1¼ 
Hazardous
Less than 1