Idaho Department of Environmental Quality

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Air quality in the Treasure Valley hasn't been great the last couple of days. But that's not because of the wildfire burning near Boise. Michael Toole with Idaho’s Department of Environmental Quality says the real culprit is ozone.

Treasure Valley Air Quality Not As Bad As It Looks

Sep 20, 2012
Aaron Kunz / Earthfix

The air quality has not been good today in the Treasure Valley, but it’s not as bad as it looks. The sky has had a yellow brown tinge to it making it look worse than it is according to Idaho’s Department of Environmental Quality. Dave Luft, a DEQ air-shed manager, says you can’t always judge the air quality by the sky.

Salmon Air Quality Unhealthy Because Of Wildfires

Aug 30, 2012
Boise National Forest

Wildfire activity caused a purple air quality advisory for Salmon today.

Rensay Owen of the Department of Environmental Quality says that this advisory is more serious than previous ones issued this summer. “We have been issuing an air quality advisory for Lemhi and Custer county areas for the last three weeks now. The last week or so these advisories have been in the unhealthy category.”

Owens says that the purple warning is the second highest level on the air quality index. “The very unhealthy category – folks should stay indoors and limit any exertion.”

Bad Air Day

Aug 13, 2012
Boise National Forest

The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality’s Air Quality Index says the air today is unhealthy for sensitive groups. 

That’s no surprise to Saint Alphonsus pulmonologist Doctor Kathleen Sutherland.  She can usually see the Boise foothills from her office window, today all she can see is smoke.  And it’s that smoke, from wildfires, that’s affecting her patients. 

Boise National Forest

The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality says Treasure Valley air is unhealthy for children and people with asthma.  That’s because of all the smoke from wildfires in the air. 

The Orange air quality alert means those in sensitive groups are most affected.  The DEQ advises avoiding strenuous activity outside, like exercise.  They also suggest limit driving trips and don’t mow the lawn until the air gets better.  Today’s Air Quality Index is 105.  Yesterday it was 106. 

A mandatory burn ban remains in effect for the Treasure Valley.