Salmon has seen some of the worst air quality in Idaho this year. This month, the town has had several “purple” or very unhealthy air quality days. The Mustang Complex fire is still burning mostly uncontained near the mountain town. Smoke from the blaze has plagued the area for weeks.
But a trace of rain over the weekend and into Monday has given residents of Salmon some much-needed fresh air.
“We’ve never been so happy to see rain in I don’t know how long," says Salmon Public Library employee Anne Schwartz. "So we are thanking God for sure.”
Schwartz says the sun is still hard to see today, but for the first time in a long time the clouds are blocking it – not smoke.
“For the last two weeks we’ve been totally socked in with smoke, it’s been very unhealthy and very difficult to live in. [The smoke] makes your eyes burn, makes you cough," says Schwartz. "People with allergies have been struggling a lot; we’ve had a lot of ash fall. So today’s completely different.”
Although the rain is a welcome sign of milder weather, so far the trace of moisture hasn’t helped in battling the area’s fires. Fire officials still are watching the Mustang Complex fire for the possibility of growth.
Five-hundred firefighters are assigned to the blaze, which has destroyed more than 300,000 acres.
Copyright 2012 Boise State Public Radio