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Idaho Fire Incident Map

Friday, August 28, 2015

08/28/2015 Idaho DEQ Smoke Forecast

Updated Noon MDT Friday, August 28, 2015

Valid through: Noon MDT Monday, August 31, 2015

Smoke Outlook

Air quality is currently ranging from Good to Moderate in southern Idaho and Moderate to Hazardous across northern Idaho with higher impacts across the Clearwater Basin Drainage, the northern Panhandle, and the Salmon-Challis area.  Air quality is forecast to remain in the Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups to Unhealthy category for the 24hr standard across central and northern Idaho today and into this weekend.  Impacts are from regional fires burning in Washington State, California, Oregon, and a multitude of local fires in the Clearwater drainage, the northern Panhandle, and Central Idaho Mountains.

Nez Perce Reservation:  24-hour monitor readings range from Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups to Hazardous.  Hourly readings are fluctuating from Moderate to Hazardous, depending on location and wind direction.  The Nez Perce Tribe will continue their Air Quality Advisory.  Please contact the Nez Perce Tribe for more information:
For the remainder of Friday, expect partly cloudy skies and stronger winds than experienced earlier in the week.  There may be an isolated thunderstorm develop over elevated regions across the state this afternoon.  On Saturday, a strong, dry, cold front will move into Idaho and bring gusty winds but no major precipitation.  This will signal the beginning of a pattern change as an active weather pattern begins to establish with several minor lobes of energy entering the area this weekend and into next week (likely Wednesday).  Precipitation and storms are likely across the northern Panhandle on Saturday with scattered storms possible across central Idaho, while southern Idaho has only a slight chance for afternoon storm development this weekend.  This frontal passage is expected sometime tomorrow from morning to evening in the northern and southern parts of the state, respectively.  The high winds serve to bring smoke into the region as well as dust to northern Idaho as it is unlikely to receive enough precipitation to limit lofting.
The strongest smoke impacts are occurring across the Clearwater drainages, Central Idaho Mountains, and the northern Panhandle.  This will continue tonight and become even stronger on Saturday as high winds provide an increase to fire activity across the Columbia Plateau and into central and northern Idaho.  Expect to experience impacts from the Canada border south to the Salmon River corridor with some drainage impacts into the McCall and Garden Valley areas tonight.  The highest impacts are expected to be within the drainages of the Clearwater, Salmon, Lochsa, down into the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley.  The northern tier of the Purcell Trench will also continue to experience high impacts throughout the entire weekend.  In southern Idaho, impacts will be greatest within the drainages around McCall and Garden Valley and generally north of a line running from Weiser to Salmon.  Conditions have generally improved across southern Idaho with values in the Good and Moderate range across all monitors except for McCall and Salmon, which are reading Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups and Hazardous, respectively.  Nighttime drainage smoke will continue to provide impacts in regions near and downwind of the fires.  Impacts in the central Idaho region will continue to be quite strong as winds will serve to increase fire activity on Saturday.  As a result of increased fire activity, strong impacts are also expected to occur within the Purcell Trench across the Rathdrum Prairie and north into Canada with more clearing over the open expanses.

DEQ AiQuality Advisories:

Idaho DEQ has issued an Air Quality Advisory:
·         Coeur d’Alene Regional Office for Boundary, Bonner, Kootenai, Shoshone, and Benewah Counties through August 31st  at 12:00noon when it will be extended or lifted.
·         Lewiston Regional Office for  Latah, Nez Perce, Lewis, Clearwater, Idaho Counties, river corridors and surrounding areas (off the Nez Perce Reservation) through August 31st at 10:00am when it will be extended or lifted.

·         Idaho Falls Regional Office for Lemhi and Custer Counties until August 28th at 3:00pm when it will be extended or lifted.

View DEQ near-real time monitoring at:

The USFS installed monitors in Riggins, ID, Halfway, OR, and Newport, WA.  The information can be found at
·         Riggins, ID monitor is Smoke USFS R1-306
·         Halfway, OR monitor is Smoke #68
·         Newport, WA monitor is Smoke E-BAM 925
·         Users should be aware that the Forest Service site reports the data in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).  To convert from UTC to Mountain Daylight Time, subtract 6 hours.

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

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)
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
1½  -2¾
Very Unhealthy
Less than 1

How to estimate air quality based on visibility for areas without an air quality monitor or airport visibility estimate:

a. Face away from the sun.
b. Determine the limit of your visible range by looking for targets at known distances (miles).
c. Visible range is when an object you can easily see in the distance disappears.
d. Use the visibility values above to determine the local wildfire smoke category.