Noxious Air Hangs Over Southern Idaho

Aug 7, 2017

A thick, smoky haze hung over the Boise foothills Saturday afternoon almost completely blotting them out. Air quality over the weekend fluctuated between the orange and red categories in the Treasure Valley.
Credit Matt Guilhem / Boise State Public Radio

A murky, smoky haze hung over the Treasure Valley throughout the weekend limiting visibility and wrecking air quality. The dense cloud hid the foothills and added a yellowish cast to the hot summer sun. Smoke from fires in neighboring states is parking itself over Idaho and cooking into noxious fog.

The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality has six levels on its Air Quality Index, ranging from green which is good all the way to maroon which is hazardous. Over the weekend, air quality in the Treasure Valley moved between the orange category, which is considered unhealthy for those with respiratory sensitivities, and the red category which is generally unhealthy.

For Monday, DEQ is again placing the air quality index for the Treasure Valley at orange saying it can fluctuate hour to hour. The department says at times the air could reach red. When the air is that bad, people with heart and lung diseases should avoid strenuous outdoor activity, and everyone else should only expose themselves to the air for as long as is necessary.

In McCall, readings Monday morning from the DEQ’s monitoring site were putting conditions in the West Central Mountains in the red category. The agency is forecasting orange level air quality through the middle of the week for the Treasure Valley.

In Twin Falls, the air is expected to remain at unhealthy levels for sensitive groups before being downgraded to yellow – which is moderate – on Wednesday. The Wood River Valley was experiencing moderate air Monday afternoon with conditions expected to stay in the yellow category.

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