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Air quality improves in 7 eastern Idaho counties while red flag warning issued


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Courtesy Idaho Transportaion Department

IDAHO FALLS — Air quality substantially improved in seven eastern Idaho counties Tuesday, but the weather won’t be perfect. A red flag warning has been issued due to potentially strong thunderstorms.

Although wildfires continue to burn across California, the wind has shifted and less smoke is being driven over parts of the Gem State.

Air quality in Bonneville, Butte, Clark, Fremont, Jefferson, Madison and Teton counties has improved. As a result, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality has lifted the burn restrictions while moving the air quality to the moderate category.

“When air quality is moderate, air quality is acceptable; however, people who are unusually sensitive to air pollution may experience health impacts and should consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion,” DEQ officials said in a news release.

Custer, Lemhi, Bannock, Bingham, Bear Lake, Caribou, Franklin, Power, and Oneida counties remain in the unhealthy for sensitive groups category, and outdoor burning remains prohibited in those areas.

People with an inherent sensitivity to increased particulate levels in the air, are encouraged to avoid prolonged physical exertion outside. Their is a greater likelihood of respiratory symptoms and increased aggravation of asthma and/or lung ailments in the unhealthy for sensitive groups category, according to NWS. The general public is unlikely to be affected.

Besides the ongoing smoke issues, local meteorologists are predicting scattered wet and dry thunderstorms between noon and 9 p.m. Tuesday. As a result a red flag warning has been issued in nearly all of Idaho during that timeframe.

A red flag warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring or will be shortly based on certain weather conditions. The thunderstorms may cause new fires and with gusty winds, they could spread quickly.

During critical fire weather conditions, outdoor burning is not recommended.

For the latest forecast data visit the East Idaho News weather page.