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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Wildfire Smoke Advisory Issued in North Idaho

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                 Contact: Melanie Collett
July 7, 2015                                                                                                                                                 (208) 415-5108

HAYDEN, ID -- Panhandle Health District (PHD) and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) have issued a Wildfire Smoke Advisory for Boundary, Bonner, Kootenai, Shoshone, and Benewah Counties. Wildfire smoke from several fires currently burning in Idaho, Washington, and Canada are impacting air quality.

At this time, air quality is categorized as “moderate” to “unhealthy for sensitive groups.” Older adults, pregnant women, children, and those with pre-existing respiratory issues or heart disease are often more affected by these conditions. Residents may notice the smell of wildfire smoke and reduced visibility and are advised to:
  • Avoid heavy work or exercise outdoors.
  • Set air conditioning units and car vent systems to re-circulate. For homes without a central heating and/or cooling system, use portable air purifiers to remove particles.
  • Limit time outdoors, especially if you have respiratory conditions or heart disease.
  • Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated helps dilute phlegm in the respiratory tract, making it easier to cough out smoke particles.
  • Seek medical treatment for uncontrolled coughing, wheezing, choking, or if you have difficulty breathing once you move back indoors.
  • Stay up-to-date on air quality in your community. View near real-time air quality monitoring by visiting http://airquality.deq.idaho.gov/
PHD and DEQ will continue to monitor air quality conditions and will issue additional advisories as conditions warrant.

For more information on air quality or potential health impacts of wildfire smoke, you may also contact: Ralph Paul with the Department of Environmental Quality at 208-769-1422 or Erik Ketner with the Panhandle Health District at 208-415-5224.