DEQ issues statewide air quality advisory due to wildfire smoke


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Courtesy Dara Carpenter

BOISE — Smoke from wildfires in Washington, Oregon, Montana and northern Idaho is clouding nearly the entire Gem State.

On Tuesday, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality issued a statewide air quality advisory. The advisory is in effect until Thursday at 10 a.m. at which time conditions will be reevaluated, according to a DEQ news release.

Air quality is now listed as moderate to very unhealthy throughout most of Idaho and is forecast to remain that way for up to 48 hours. Conditions are worse in western Idaho than in eastern Idaho.

Air pollutants can cause breathing difficulties for children, the elderly, as well as persons with respiratory problems. National Weather Service officials say individuals who are sensitive to increased particulate matter, gaseous pollutants such as ozone, or smoke, are encouraged to avoid prolonged or strenuous outdoor activity.

Under this advisory, all open burning is prohibited, including campfires, recreational fires, weed control burning, and residential burning, according to the DEQ release. This advisory does not apply to lands within Indian reservation boundaries or to activities associated with fire suppression.

Daily updates on air quality conditions at various locations in Idaho are available on DEQ’s Air Quality Reports and Forecasts and Current Wildfire Smoke Information webpages.