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.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Season coming to a close

Yesterday's AQI was in the GOOD category across the state and is expected to stay there today and tomorrow! There are no significant smoke impacts expected today aside from some light upper level smoke across southern and central Idaho that should be clearing with no impacts expected at the surface.

This will be our last smoke report for the season unless some major fires break out and start significantly impacting us. We’ve had a nice, mild season this year with no major smoke events! 

Keep an eye on the AQI monitors if you are a smoke sensitive individual; we’re not totally out of the woods yet. There are still a few wildfires burning in Idaho and in our neighboring states: Nethker, Cove Creek, Shady, and Smith Knob are all still burning in Central Idaho and producing some smoke though fire activity is minimal. Up in northern Idaho, Shale Creek and Barren Hill are still burning and producing some smoke but are in very remote areas. The 204 Cow Fire and Granite Gulch are just to our west in Oregon and are also producing some smoke that is drifting over us. You can keep an eye on these fires at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/ . This will give you information such as size, location, and fire activity. The top of the smoke blog or the DEQ main monitoring page can keep you informed of air quality at the monitor nearest you.

These wildfire potential outlooks show Idaho and the Pacific Northwest at a “normal” level for significant wildland fires for September and October.




Tuesday, September 3, 2019

No significant smoke impacts expected

There are still some wildfires burning in Idaho but there are no significant smoke impacts expected. Upper level smoke will be present, however, it is expected to clear with no impacts expected at the surface.

                                                    Smoke plumes from fires burning in Oregon and Central Idaho are visible.

Data source: GOES-16 Visible Imagery valid at 1600 MDT 02 September 2019.  

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Fires still burning but no significant impacts expected

Yesterday's 24 hr AQI data indicated air quality in the GOOD category across most of Idaho with parts of the Treasure Valley reaching the MODERATE category. Idaho is forecast to be in the GOOD category today and tomorrow.

There are no significant smoke impacts expected today however the fires burning in southern and central Idaho will contribute to upper level smoke. There should be ample clearing with no impacts expected at the surface.

smoke plume is evident in eastern Oregon approaching Idaho. 

GIF Source: GOES-16 Visible Imagery valid at 1400 MDT 28 August 2019.  

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Another day with no significant impacts

We're about to close out August with some more GOOD air quality across the state. Idaho is expected to stay in the GOOD category today and tomorrow. There are no significant smoke impacts expected though there will be upper level smoke present across southern and central Idaho due to fires in the Central Idaho Mountains and Oregon. There should be ample clearing with no impacts expected at the surface.

Smoke plumes are evident in the Central Idaho Mountains and Oregon approaching Idaho.
GIF Source: GOES-16 Visible Imagery valid at 1500 MDT 27 August 2019

Monday, August 26, 2019

Some smoke, a bit of haze

Idaho is still in the GOOD air quality category and forecast to stay that way today and tomorrow. There are no significant smoke impacts expected today; however, some upper level smoke will be present across southern Idaho. In the GIF below you can see the four smoke plumes in Central Idaho, Eastern Idaho and Oregon contributing to that upper level smoke. Conditions through Wednesday are expected to degrade a bit more each day with afternoon clearing. Hazy conditions are possible Tuesday and Wednesday across southwest Idaho.

GIF Source: GOES-16 Visible Imagery valid at 1500 MDT 25 August 2019.  

Friday, August 23, 2019

Windy weekend will limit smoke

Look at that! No significant smoke impacts are expected today or over the weekend. Strong surface winds Saturday and Sunday will limit any accumulation of surface smoke. That's not something you hear often in August around here. At least not for the last couple of years.

Yesterday's 24 hr AQI data indicated GOOD air quality across Idaho and is forecast to stay in the GOOD category today and tomorrow.

NOAA NRRR-SMOKE Vertically Integrated Smoke forecast valid at 0500 MDT 23 August 2019

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Intermittent Lofted Smoke Clearing Early

Yesterday's 24 hr AQI data put Idaho in the GOOD category and is expected to stay that way today and tomorrow.

There are no significant smoke impacts from wildfire expected today though there could be intermittent periods of lofted smoke in the morning across southern Idaho today along the OR/ID border but it is expected to clear this afternoon and is not expected to reach the surface. Some models are showing moderate smoke coming from the Granite Gulch fire in Oregon but so far, this hasn't been observed to occur.


Data source: NOAA HRRR-Smoke vertically integrated smoke forecast valid at 0500 AM MDT August 21, 2019.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Clear again

AQI data put Idaho in the GOOD category yesterday and is expected to continue today and tomorrow. There a no significant smoke impacts from wildfires expected either. There may be some light lofted smoke near the OR/ID border but it is expected to clear this afternoon and not reach the surface.

GIF Source: NOAA HRRR-Smoke Vertically Integrated Smoke Forecast valid at 0500 AM MDT August 20, 2019

Monday, August 19, 2019

No significant smoke impacts expected today!


Data source: NOAA HRRR-Smoke vertically integrated smoke forecast valid at 0500 AM MDT August 19, 2019.


Air quality across the state has been in the GOOD category and is expected to stay there today and tomorrow. No significant smoke impacts are expected today though there may be some periods of lofted smoke in the morning across southern Idaho today but is expected to clear by this afternoon.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Still clear!

An elevated smoke plume from a central Nevada fire is visible over the Idaho-Utah border as it makes its way rapidly eastward.

Source: GOES-West GeoColor imagery from 8:56 AM MDT August 14, 2019.

Air quality is in the GOOD category all around and is forecast to stay that way today and tomorrow. No significant smoke impacts expected today. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Clear skies today!

No significant smoke impacts are expected today. Air quality was in the GOOD category yesterday and expected to stay there today and tomorrow!

Data Source: GOES-17 Imagery at 8:00 AM MDT August 13, 2019.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Hurray! A clear day!

NOAA-HRRR Smoke:  Forecast vertically integrated smoke valid at 0500, August 12th (MDT).  

Happy Monday! The skies are looking clearer! 

24hr AQI data indicate air quality in the GOOD across the state are forecast to stay that way today and tomorrow. Smoke impacts today will be minimal with light, lofted smoke possible from time to time over the northern Panhandle and long the southern Idaho border with Nevada and Utah.

Friday, August 9, 2019

North Idaho Air Quality Notice LIfted

The Coeur d'Alene Reginal Office of DEQ has lifted the air quality notice for the residents of Beneway, Bonner, Kootenai, and Shoshone Counties.

Click this link to see the full notice: http://www.deq.idaho.gov/media/60183245/aq-notice-892019-cda.pdf

Still smoky up north!


Data source: NOAA-HRRR Smoke:  Forecast vertically integrated smoke valid at 0600, August 9th (MDT).   


Once again, 24hr AQI data indicated air quality in the GOOD category with MODERATE air quality over the southern Panhandle and McCall. Air quality forecasts across the state are in the GOOD category today and tomorrow while the southern Panhandle and McCall are forecast to be in the MODERATE category today.

Folks in the Panhandle will experience moderate to heavy smoke today. Intermittent light to moderate smoke may be present over central Idaho and portions of southwestern Idaho. Conditions over the state will improve this afternoon and tomorrow. The weather through the weekend looks favorable for clearing the atmosphere across the state.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Heavier smoke today in the north

Data source: NOAA-HRRR Smoke:  Forecast vertically integrated smoke valid at 0700, August 8th (MDT).

Air quality was in the GOOD category yesterday with MODERATE air quality over the southern Panhandle and some pockets in central Idaho and Twin Falls. Today and tomorrow are forecast to be in the GOOD category except for the southern Panhandle and Twin Falls where it should be in the MODERATE category.

Weather conditions will begin to change today and bring more active weather to the region. There will still be smoke impacts today with light smoke over south-central Idaho along the NV/UT border and eastern Idaho while moderate to heavy smoke will be located over the Panhandle and portions of central Idaho. Things may get a little better over the Panhandle this afternoon before deteriorating again late this evening and into tomorrow. The Purcell Trench from Spokane to Sandpoint will be the area most heavily affected today. Those fires along the NV/UT border will contribute to some higher readings early today in the Magic Valley before dissipating when some precipitation and strong winds come in. The weather looks promising tomorrow to scour the atmosphere across the state and push some of this smoke out.

Poor air quality continues in North Idaho

The Coeur d'Alene regional office of the Department of Environmental Quality is continuing their Air Quality Notice for the residents of Benewah, Bonner, Kootenai, and Shoshone Counties.

Click this link to see the full notice: http://www.deq.idaho.gov/media/60183234/aq-notice-882019-cda.pdf

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

August Fire Potential


Take a look at the most recent fire potential forecast put out by the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC). So far this summer, activity has remained at "normal" as predicted. Now, NIFC reports that across the state of Idaho, we can expect "normal" wildfire potential for August. However, our neighbors in Oregon, Washington and Nevada are expecting "above normal" fire potential which could mean smoke being transported over Idaho.

Be proactive! If you are a member of a sensitive group (elderly, children, pregnant people, those with cardiovascular or respiratory conditions), now's the time to click over to our "Smoke and Health" page, check out some links if you haven't already and contact your healthcare provider to work out a plan for when the smoke hits.


Another day of smoky skies in the north

We're still mostly in the GOOD and MODERATE air quality categories across the state while Twin Falls has seen some time in the UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS category this morning. Forecasts for today and tomorrow have some of the state staying in the GOOD category while the Treasure Valley, McCall, central Idaho (along the western border with Oregon and Washington), and the southern Panhandle are forecast to be in the MODERATE category today and tomorrow.

Not much has changed smoke-wise. We still expect to see some lingering smoke due to light winds with smoke impacts evident over the southern Panhandle, central Idaho, south-central Idaho along the NV/UT border, and into the Treasure Valley. The Spokane-Coeur d'Alene corridor and the southern Panhandle will see higher concentrations, as well as the northern Panhandle and down into the Palouse. Some fires burning near the ID/NV border and a new fire near Mountain Home will contribute to some higher readings this morning in the Magic Valley. And of course, smoke near the surface may get trapped overnight and increase in concentration before mixing out the next morning.


Data source: NOAA-HRRR Smoke:  Forecast near-surface smoke valid at 0500, August 7th (MDT).   

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Air Quality Notice Issued


An Air Quality Notice has been issued from the DEQ Coeur d'Alene Regional Office. It notifies the residents of Benewah, Bonner, Kootenai, and Shoshone Counties of degraded air quality.

Click this link to see the full notice: http://www.deq.idaho.gov/media/60183229/aq-notice-862019-cda.pdf

Smoky up north

Smoke is starting to stick around and yesterday we saw some MODERATE to UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS AQI data in central Idaho and the Panhandle. Forecasts across the state are in the GOOD category today and tomorrow while the Treasure Valley and McCall areas are forecast to be in the MODERATE category today and tomorrow.

Light winds will continue to keep smoke in the region and allow it to linger. Light smoke will be aloft over central Idaho, south-central Idaho along the NV/UT border, and into the Treasure Valley. Concentrations look to be higher over the Spokane-Coeur d'Alene corridor and southern Panhandle today. These concentrations will also fan out north into the Panhandle as well as south across the Palouse and over the Weippe Prairie. Smoke near the surface after sunset may be trapped and increase in concentration before moving out the next morning.

NOAA-HRRR Smoke:  Forecast near-surface smoke valid at 0700, August 6th (MDT).  

Monday, August 5, 2019

Light smoke over parts of Idaho today

Welcome back from what was hopefully a relaxing weekend. Over the weekend a couple more fires popped up around the Northwest that are impacting Idaho's air quality. Light winds are forecast today which will keep smoke in the region and let it linger. Smoke impacts today will be evident with light smoke aloft transported from Washington and Oregon into the Treasure Valley and north. Concentrations look to be higher over central Idaho and along the Spokane-Coeur d'Alene corridor tonight into Tuesday. Smoke near the surface after sunset may be trapped and increase in concentration overnight before dispersing the next morning.

Overall, air quality is forecast to be in the GOOD category today and tomorrow except for the Treasure Valley and St. Marie's where it is forecast to be in the MODERATE category today and tomorrow.

Data source: USFS BlueSky: Forecast near-surface smoke valid at 0400, August 5th (MDT).

Friday, August 2, 2019

More of the same, limited impacts

Yesterday's 24hr AQI data indicated air quality in the GOOD category through the state except for Lewiston, which reached the MODERATE category. Air quality forecasts across the state are in the GOOD category today and tomorrow while the Treasure Valley is forecast to be in the MODERATE category today and tomorrow.

Consistent and similar weather patterns mean that smoke will behave today as it has for much of this past week. Smoke impacts today will be limited to the light smoke aloft that Oregon and Washington's fires will transport into the Treasure Valley and Idaho County and north.

Data Source: USFS BlueSky: Forecast near-surface smoke valid at midnight, August 2nd (MDT).

Monday, July 29, 2019

More fires in the west, limited smoke impacts

There are a few more fires burning in our neighboring states now and some of their smoke is starting to transport into our area adding to the smoke coming from our own fires burning in central Idaho. Impacts today are expected to be limited to the vicinity of fires burning in central Idaho with a chance for some light smoke to come over from Washington and southwest Oregon. Some overnight drainage into the lower Treasure Valley is possible tomorrow morning before the inversion lifts by late morning. After this, smoke will be transported to the northeast. Smoke models are also suggesting locally high concentrations within the Salmon River Corridor from North Fork and south into Salmon tonight.


Data source: NOAA-HRRR Smoke:  Forecast vertically integrated smoke valid at 1200 UTC July 29th (0600 MDT July 29th). 

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Activity picking up in Southern Idaho

Fire activity is starting to pick up a bit and there are a few fires burning now. There are still the ones around the Stanley area but now there are also some brush and grass fires burning in Southern Idaho.

Around the state, air quality has been in the GOOD category with isolated areas within the MODERATE category in central and southeastern Idaho. Forecasts for today and tomorrow show the state in the GOOD category except for the Boise area, which is forecast to reach the MODERATE category both today and tomorrow.

Smoke impacts are expected to be located across central Idaho and south to the Nevada/Utah border. Concentrations will be higher in the vicinity of the fires burning around Stanley as well as near the Sheep Fire burning in Butte County.There may be hazy conditions across southern Idaho from smoke coming from the south. Conditions in eastern Idaho, primarily within the Snake River Plain, are expected to degrade further today and tomorrow due to the Sheep Fire.


FireSmoke-Canada:  Forecast near-surface smoke valid at 0400 UTC July 26th (2200 MDT July 25th).  

Friday, July 19, 2019

Weekend is here!

The weekend has come and I'm sure there are some of you wanting to escape the coming heat and head to the mountains. I know I want to! Yesterday's AQI was in the GOOD category and it's forecasted to stay that way today and tomorrow.

Smoke impacts today are expected to be very limited, if any. There may be some local impacts in the vicinity of the wildfires burning in central Idaho; however, there are no major impacts expected through Saturday. Moving into Sunday, hazy conditions may develop over northern Idaho and central Idaho thanks to smoke from local and regional fires in Idaho and Washington. Increasing moisture in the air on Sunday into Monday will make the skies look hazier than usual.

Enjoy your weekend!


Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Very light smoke impacts possible

Hello Idaho! As was predicted, the weekend's storms produced a few fires. Most were brush fires and are largely contained and controlled. There are still two wildfires burning near Salmon and those in the major river drainages of East Central Idaho could potentially see some very light impacts this evening and should expect the same pattern on Wednesday. Right now, AQI monitors across the state have us in the GOOD category and are forecasted to stay in the GOOD category tomorrow, except for the Coeur d'Alene area which is forecasted to be in the MODERATE category today. This is driven by ozone, though, rather than wildfire smoke.

In this .gif below, be sure to check the possible smoke impact against the legend. Though it is showing PM, it is still at the lowest end of the values.

Data Source: USFS BlueSky: Forecast surface smoke valid at 0500 UTC July 17th (2300 MDT July 16th).

Friday, July 12, 2019

Slow Start to Fire Season So Far

We're just about halfway into July and so far, it's been a slow start to the wildfire season. There are two fires burning near Salmon; each are hovering around 300-400 acres. We haven't had much impact yet but don't be lulled into a false sense of security. The temperature is rising and the fuels are drying out which means we're getting more and more vulnerable to wildfire as the summer rolls along.

U.S. Forest Service states that the Great Basin is at a Preparedness Level 2 (which one being lowest rating and five being the highest). This basically means that geographic areas that are active can't accomplish their incident management objectives independently but that there is only the need for light to moderate mobilization of resources coming from the National Interagency Coordination Center. As the Preparedness Level rises, so does the availability of additional federal and state employees for fire mobilization, if needed.

Be safe and have a great weekend!!



Monday, July 1, 2019

Helpful Links


Now that you have an idea of what to expect for the summer and you’ve learned a little bit about air quality and how things get done, we’ll leave you with some helpful links as we head into a busy holiday weekend. Stay safe out there!!

Idaho Air Quality MonitorsClick over to the Air Quality Now tab to find many links to air quality monitors in Idaho

Daily Air Quality Forecasts and Outdoor Open Burning Map – so you’ll know what the forecasted AQI is and whether you should be setting up that backyard campfire

EPA Smoke Ready Toolbox lots of resources for smoke and fire

Mobile App – take your air quality source with you! - Find this in Google Play or the Apple App Store. Search for “EPA’s SmokeSense.” Enter your zipcode and get air quality information, locations of nearby fires, and other important smoke and health information.

EPA's SmokeSense Screenshot. Google Play

Friday, June 28, 2019

Air Quality Index – how is the value determined?

Let’s take a moment to get acquainted with how air quality is measured and what that means for you specifically. On the main page of this blog you’ll find a map of air quality monitors around the region. What exactly do those colors mean and how is the Air Quality Index (AQI) value determined?

The AQI is a nationally uniform color-coded index for reporting and forecasting daily air qualityIn this case, the AQI is being used to communicate the level of PM 2.5 present. We reviewed what PM 2.5 is and its effects last fallThere is a national air quality standard for PM 2.5 and the 24 hour average standard is set at 35 ug/m3. The pollutant is measured hourly and those values are averaged to get the PM 2.5 value.

When related to the AQI, the 35 ug/m3 value standard is the threshold where air quality crosses over from “moderate” to “unhealthy for sensitive groups.” Rather than give you measurements of PM 2.5 which can be confusing, the EPA translates that to the AQI values to communicate risk to you. Check out the image below to see what the values are, who needs to be concerned at each level, and what they should do.


EPA Air Quality Index


Monday, June 24, 2019

What’s an Air Resource Advisor ?


A lot of people wouldn’t know this but an “air resource advisor” is often deployed to large, catastrophic wildfires. Air resource advisors (ARAs) are technical specialists with expertise in air quality science. The position came about from the partnering of multiple state, federal, and tribal agencies that recognized the need to be proactive about smoke impacts on communities.

ARAs are trained in smoke modeling, air quality monitoring, health risks from smoke, and impact mitigation. During a wildfire incident, they set up shop at the fire camp and communicate in-depth smoke impact information and forecasts to fire incident teams, air quality regulators (us here at DEQ), and the public. When fire season gets in full swing, you may see some ARA publications put on this site. It usually includes an update on the size of the fire and response, what to expect from smoke, and the forecasted weather near the fire. Keep an eye out for them!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Air Pollution Forecast and Caution – A Primer


When air quality degrades to levels that are likely to affect your health the Department of Environmental Quality will announce this to the public using the Air Pollution Forecast and Caution tool. I'll drop an image below of what the announcements will look like. Look for these here, the DEQ Twitter account, and on our DEQ Facebook page.

An Air Pollution Forecast and Caution is a tool that the DEQ uses to let the public know that smoke concentrations have reached or are forecasted to reach and persist at levels likely to affect your health. The message will be posted on this blog There was a fairly lengthy period last summer that saw one region or another of the state with a Forecast and Caution issued or extended. One weekend in late August the entire state had been issued an Air Pollution Forecast and Caution.

The Forecast and Caution includes specific warnings and advice to those most likely to feel health impacts from smoke. It also prohibits intentional open burning on state and federal lands until the Forecast and Caution has been lifted. It is intended to help you make informed health decisions for the day AND limit further pollution buildup in the affected area. Use these along with your personal health history, the Air Quality Index, and visual observations to determine when to reduce or cancel your outdoor plans. 




Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Visual Observations and the Air Quality Index

Last week I mentioned that a lot of people use visual observations to gauge air quality. When sunlight encounters tiny pollution particles (in this case from smoke), it reduces the clarity and color of what we see. Sunlight is absorbed, shifted, or scattered when it hits these tiny pollution particles. As the amount of tiny pollution particles in the air increases (in this case from increasing amounts of smoke), the more the light is absorbed, shifted, or scattered and the hazier the sky will look.

While it’s still nice (not smoky anyway) go outside and pick a landmark that you know the distance of. Use this spot to help you figure out the AQI if you aren’t able to get it from any other media sources (perhaps you’re lucky enough to be enjoying yourself far from civilization and have no cell service or other way to access the google machine). So before you leave here, check out the chart below about using visibility to gauge the air quality and adjust your plans accordingly. Happy adventuring!


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

Thursday, June 13, 2019

How do Treasure Valley residents perceive smoke?

Last summer, researchers at Boise State University did a survey of Treasure Valley residents about how they get their smoke information and how they feel about it. They presented the information to us at the end of the wildfire season and I think it would be helpful to share it with everyone out there as summer begins.

Wildfires have been on trend to get bigger and more damaging every year and as anyone in the West knows, fires come with massive amounts of smoke that disrupt our idyllic way of life here. The BSU researchers asked residents about their perception of the risk of wildfire smoke and their personal responses to the hazard. About 2/3 of respondents altered their outdoor activity plans based on forecasted smoke impacts. The majority of those that REDUCED their outdoor plans did so when air quality reached “orange” (unhealthy for sensitive groups) in the Air Quality Index. It took level “red” (unhealthy for all) before the majority would CANCEL outdoor plans.

Air quality information and their own visual observations were the most likely to get people to change their plans with text messaging and emergency alerts being the most likely way for them to get their information. Though the overwhelming majority believed wildfire smoke to be a hazard, most would not consider evacuating their home to avoid it. Medication, long showers, use of public buildings, and air filtration were the top choice for mitigating the effects of smoke.


Monday, June 10, 2019

Idaho Summer Wildfire Outlook


Summer is upon us! School is out. The weather is warm. The mountains and lakes are calling. For most of us here in Idaho, it’s time to live outside for a few months. So as you make your summer plans, you may be wondering what the wildfire potential is. Right now, the National Interagency Coordination Center is predicting wildfire season is looking “normal” with “above normal” potential in the Panhandle late in the summer. “Normal” doesn’t mean “no wildfires” – it means the “normal” amount of fires for this area is expected given the level of drought, amount of precipitation, and the fuel conditions in the region. So, a typical Idaho summer then.



NICC Predictive Services Outlook 6/10/2019