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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

08/16/2016 Idaho DEQ Smoke Forecast

Updated 10am MDT Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Valid through Noon MDT Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Smoke Outlook

Air quality is forecast to continue to remain in the Good to Moderate air quality category across the state today with higher readings across Boise County due to the proximity and drainage of the Pioneer Fire.  Current elevated DEQ monitors include Nampa, Idaho City, Ketchum, Paul, Pocatello, Idaho Falls, Franklin, and Kamiah monitor operated by the Nez Perce Tribe which are all in the MODERATE category. 
                                                  
A flat upper level ridge pattern will remain entrenched today and will provide for hot temperatures across all of Idaho.  Expect similar conditions to yesterday.  There is a small disturbance embedded within which will bring a slight chance for isolated thunderstorms across the highlands of southern Idaho today.  Due to the ridge pattern, inversions will be quite slow to mix out due to the warm mid-layers.  Wind speeds will be in the 5-10 mph range from west-northwest with southwest winds over the Upper Snake Plain and within the Purcell Trench.  Mixing heights will range from 2,000 feet AGL to 9,000 feet AGL.  Tomorrow, conditions will be similar with the chance for afternoon thunderstorms moving slightly farther north into the Snake River Plain and Highlands as well as into the Central Idaho Mountains. 

Because the overall weather pattern has not varied greatly, smoke impacts today are expected to continue to be local in nature and similar to the pat few days.  Smoke from the Pioneer Fire will drain into the Upper Treasure Valley this morning with locally heavy impacts within the drainage corridors before lifting and dispersing to the southeast. Tonight, drainage smoke will again enter the Upper Treasure Valley as well as the Northern Magic Valley and Ketchum/Sun Valley area.  On Wednesday, the Lower Treasure Valley will see transport of lift, lofted smoke from fires burning in eastern Oregon. 

DEQ Air Quality Forecast and Cautions:

  • The Boise Regional Office has issued a Stage 1 Air Quality Forecast and Caution for Boise County. Valid through Tuesday, August 16th at 3:00 p.m.

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

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 http://smoke.airfire.org/monitoringReport/#/?date=LATEST&productType=plotTable.
·         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 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

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.