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Idaho Fire Incident Map

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

08/17/2016 Idaho DEQ Smoke Forecast

Updated 10am MDT Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Valid through Noon MDT Thursday, August 18, 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, Blaine County, and Camas County due to the proximity and drainage of the Pioneer Fire.  Current elevated DEQ monitors include Boise, Idaho City, Garden Valley, and Franklin which are all in the MODERATE category.  Ketchum is currently reading in the UNHEALTHY category.
A minor disturbance will pass through the upper level ridge today, providing a chance for showers along the extreme ID/NV border and across parts of the Central Idaho Mountains this afternoon.   A cold front passing through northern Idaho will allow for a slight chance of isolated thunderstorms this afternoon across the northern Panhandle.  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.  Winds will increase dramatically tomorrow across the northern Panhandle as a second front moves through in the afternoon.  Generally, wind speeds will be higher across all of Idaho with a strong northerly component across central and north Idaho while northwest to southwest winds at 8-12 mph will be present across southern Idaho. 
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 including Garden Valley and Idaho City before lifting and dispersing to the southeast where it will continue to affect the Ketchum area within the Big and Little Wood drainages. Tonight, drainage smoke will again enter the entire Treasure Valley, reaching farther west than previously experienced, as well as the Northern Magic Valley and Ketchum/Sun Valley area.  On Thursday, the Lower Treasure Valley will see transport of lift, lofted smoke from fires burning in eastern Oregon as well as continued impacts from the Pioneer Fire in the morning.  Once the inversion lifts, stronger surface and transport winds will move the smoke farther east towards the Middle Snake River Plain and Arco Desert. 

DEQ Air Quality Forecast and Cautions:

  • The Boise Regional Office has extended a Stage 1 Air Quality Forecast and Caution for Boise County. Valid through Wednesday, August 17th at 3:00 p.m.
  • The Twin Falls Regional Office has issued a Stage 1 Air Quality Forecast and Caution for Blaine and Camas Counties. Valid through Wednesday, August 17th at 1:00 p.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.