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Idaho Fire Incident Map

Friday, August 5, 2016

08/05/2016 Idaho DEQ Smoke Forecast

Updated 11am MDT Friday, August 5, 2016

Valid through Noon MDT Monday, August 8, 2016

Smoke Outlook

Air quality is forecast to continue to remain in the Good to Moderate air quality category across the state today.  Idaho City is currently reading in the Unhealthy category.  Moderate impacts are evident today across all of southern Idaho from the Treasure Valley into Ketchum, east to Idaho Falls and Salmon and south into Franklin. In north Idaho, monitor readings are currently in the Moderate category in the Lewiston area.  Expect higher readings in the evening and early morning before improving during the day.

Today, an upper level lower pressure system will approach from the west while a mid-level system will move in from northern California which will bring monsoon moisture and general instability into Idaho.  Wind speeds will be in the 5-10 mph range, with variable direction across the state but generally from the south and southeast today.  Wind directions at higher speeds will be primarily from the southeast to southwest with northeast winds in north Idaho.  There is a chance for late afternoon-evening thunderstorms along the rim of the Snake River Plain, particularly in the Southwest and Southern Highlands where there is a Red Flag Warning.  For the weekend, a southwest flow pattern with locally northwest winds within the Treasure Valley will develop at 5-10 mph with gusts to 20 mph by Sunday.  Afternoon and evening thunderstorms are likely across the higher terrain around the Snake River Plain with storms likely leaking into the area.

Smoke impacts today are expected to be more localized with the cooler temperatures and lighter wind speeds; however, areas near thunderstorms will experience erratic and gusty winds.  Brief periods of heavy, localized smoke should be expected in the morning before the inversion lifts around 12noon today.  The regions that should expect to see smoke this evening include the Upper Snake River Plain to the Island Park area and the Upper Treasure Valley.  South winds and east winds will bring smoke into the Southeast Highlands and Teton Valley as well.  The Southeast Highlands and north into the Snake River Plain should expect to see smoke tonight and through the weekend into Monday.  Expect much of the same this weekend as the weather pattern remains similar through Monday…southwest transport, afternoon thunderstorms and nocturnal smoke impacts within drainages.

DEQ Air Quality Forecast and Cautions:
·         The Idaho Falls Regional Office has issued a Stage 1 Forecast and Caution for Custer County. Valid through Monday, August 8th at 10:00 a.m.

View DEQ near-real time monitoring at:

The USFS installed monitors near Stanley, Idaho and Lowman, Idaho.  Idaho DEQ has installed temporary monitors in Fairfield and Boise (Garden City), Idaho. The information can be found at:
·         Stanley, ID monitor is Stanley-Idaho 75
·         Lowman, ID monitor is Lowman-Jolene Drive
·         Fairfield, ID monitor is Fairfield-Soldier Road
·         Boise, ID monitor is Garden City-Alworth Street

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.