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Thursday, July 9, 2015

07/09/15 Idaho DEQ Smoke Forecast

Updated 1100am MDT Thursday, July 9, 2015

Air quality is forecast to remain in the Good to Moderate air quality category across the state, although 
short-term readings will be higher in the Clearwater drainages and across the Idaho Panhandle from 
Benewah County north.  Conditions have improved across the state in comparison to yesterday’s data.  
Currently there are no Air Quality Alerts issued by DEQ.

Northern Idaho is under an upper level ridge pattern today with stagnant atmospheric conditions.  This will limit 
regional impacts but also serve to heighten the impacts of local, low-level smoke already entrained within the 
area.  It is unlikely to lift much today as the ridge persists through this afternoon.  The convective systems 
have weakened through the evening and are thus unlikely to fire off any storms today over the Panhandle or 
Clearwater drainages, so similar conditions to yesterday will likely occur.  Tomorrow looks to be a favorable 
day to mix smoke out of the region via rain scouring and convective lift associated with afternoon 
thunderstorms.  Southern Idaho will be influenced with scattered, wet thunderstorms that will develop across 
much of the Snake River Plain this afternoon, particularly across the Southern and Southeast Highlands.  
Surface winds will be from the east-southeast in the southwest and southwest across the Upper Snake 
River Plain at 5-10 mph today.  Near thunderstorms, expect wind gusts up to 50 mph with erratic wind 
directions.  Similar conditions are expected through Friday.

The strongest smoke impacts are occurring across the Idaho Panhandle and through the Hells Canyon and 
Clearwater drainages.  This will continue in the afternoon and evening today the upper level ridge limits 
dispersion and movement in central and northern Idaho.  Light impacts will also occur in the Lower Snake 
and Southern Highlands as smoke from fires burning in the Salmon River Mountains and Oregon drift into the 
region.  

View DEQ near-real time monitoring at:  http://airquality.deq.idaho.gov/

Smoke forecasts are dependent on predicted fire growth and weather.  If conditions change unexpectedly, 
impacts could occur.  When visibility starts to go below 5 miles, sensitive groups should minimize outdoor 
activities.  Everyone else should minimize prolonged or physical activity outdoors.  Visit the Idaho Smoke Blog 
for more information at http://idsmoke.blogspot.com/

Your eyes are your best tools to determine if it’s safe to be outside.  Even if you smell smoke, the air 
quality may still be good.

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