Public health officials advise Idahoans to limit time outside as air quality worsens

SmokeBoise1BOISE  — Smoke from several wildfires in Idaho and surrounding states is affecting the air quality for residents in nearly every Idaho community and is expected to continue to do so for the next several days. Public health officials are advising people in the affected areas to limit their time outside as much as possible to reduce their exposure to smoke. Continue reading


Limiting your exposure to smoky air is the healthy thing to do


Wildfire season has arrived, and with it, the smoky air that can make it difficult to breathe. Air quality is a big deal this time of year, and it changes depending on where the wildfires are and which way the wind is blowing. It often feels like there’s no escape from the smoke, which can cause irritating symptoms for healthy people and more serious health issues for people with heart and lung disease. So, it’s important to protect yourself and your family from smoky air whenever possible. Continue reading

Shining a light on safety before, during & after the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse

idUnless you’ve been living on the dark side of the moon, you’ve probably heard about the total solar eclipse occurring the morning of Aug. 21 in Idaho. So, it’s a good time to talk about preparation and safety before, during, and after this historic event that’s expected to draw up to hundreds of thousands of viewers to the state. Continue reading

Wildfire Smoke Begins Impacting Air Quality

Smoke from several Idaho wildfires is impacting air quality for residents of southern and central Idaho.

Smoke from the 10,000 acre Pioneer Fire north of Idaho City, is causing intermittent levels of “Unhealthy” to “Very Unhealthy” air for Idaho City and nearby communities, with smoke drifting down into the Treasure and Magic Valleys causing air quality in the “Moderate” category. The Comet Fire north of Salmon also is producing air quality in the “Moderate” category for Salmon area residents.

Older adults, infants, children and people with medical conditions such as asthma, lung disease, and heart disease are more sensitive to poor air quality and may want to take precautions when air quality is moderate or worse. People who use inhalers for asthma or other conditions should keep them close at hand. Continue reading

Charts for children and adults help determine activity when air is smoky


Wildfire smoke and poor air quality are going to be with us for a while. The people who are most affected by poor air quality are also the most vulnerable: Children, the elderly, the disabled, and people with respiratory and heart conditions.

Air quality can fluctuate daily around the state, but it  is not expected to significantly improve anytime soon. Please be aware of current conditions and keep children inside when the air quality is unhealthy. Also, check on your elderly and vulnerable neighbors to be sure the air quality is not causing them undue distress.

If you coach children or run a daycare or a school, it’s especially important to be aware of outside air conditions. Sending a child with asthma out to play when air quality is listed as orange (unhealthy for sensitive populations) or red (unhealthy for everyone) could lead to serious health effects for that child. You can check real-time air quality in many Idaho communities through the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality’s air monitors here.

If you’re not sure, the smoke activity guidelines above and below can help:  Continue reading

Idaho Public Health and DEQ officials: Wildfire smoke is affecting air quality throughout the state

Smoke from wildfires in Idaho and neighboring states is affecting the air quality in nearly every Idaho community in the northern and southwestern parts of the state, and officials from public health and environmental quality are reminding residents to be aware of the conditions so they can take precautions.

The strongest smoke impacts are currently occurring across the Latah, Nez Perce, Lewis, Clearwater, and Idaho counties, as well as in southwest Idaho and east toward Twin Falls and north toward Garden Valley and McCall. Air quality is ranging from moderate to unhealthy across these areas, and impacts are from ongoing fires burning in Oregon, Washington and California, and a multitude of local fires that started this week.

“Air quality throughout the state is changing 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 precautions if they are planning to be outside. We’re especially concerned about children, the elderly and people with chronic health conditions who might be more sensitive than most to the smoke in the air.”  Continue reading