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Monday, August 22, 2016

08/22/2016 Idaho DEQ Smoke Forecast

Updated 11am MDT Monday, August 22, 2016

Valid through Noon MDT Tuesday, August 23, 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 Garden Valley, Ketchum, Pocatello, and Franklin, which are all reading in the Moderate category. In north Idaho, Plummer, St. Maries, and Pinehurst are reading in the Moderate Category while Coeur d’Alene is reading in the Unhealthy Category due to fires burning in eastern Washington.
                                                  
A dry cold front has passed through northern Idaho and much of southwest Idaho and will make its way east through the day.  This will bring cooler temperatures and gusty winds.  Surface wind speeds will range between 15-25 mph with gusts to 35-40 mph across the Upper Snake River Plain, Lemhi Valley, and Columbia Basin.  Surface wind direction will be from the west-northwest with southwest winds over the Upper Snake, Southeast and Eastern Highlands, and the Purcell Trench.  Skies will be sunny to mostly sunny all day.  Mixing heights will range from 3,000-11,000 feet AGL.  Transport wind speed will be between 15-35 mph and be from the northwest-west.  Ventilation is forecast to be POOR in the morning and GOOD in the afternoon.  Inversions are expected to break between 10am-12noon. There is a RED FLAG WARNING in effect for much of southern Idaho this afternoon.
Smoke from the Pioneer Fire will affect the Ketchum area within the Big and Little Wood drainages this morning before moving east once the inversion lifts.  Fires burning in the Salmon-Challis area will generate smoke that will drain into Salmon and Challis and down the Big and Little Lost River Valleys before lingering over the Upper Snake River Plain this afternoon.  This smoke is expected to remain aloft today.  The Rail Fire in eastern Oregon will generate smoke that will advect into the Lower Treasure Valley today and will arrive as elevated smoke rather than surface smoke.  Fires burning in eastern Washington will continue to affect the central Panhandle region.  Tonight, drainage smoke will again enter the Lower Snake River Plain east of Boise as well as down into the Middle and Upper Snake via the Arco Desert. Tomorrow, a more northwesterly wind component will bring smoke into the Ketchum area as well as the Middle Snake River Plain before shifting to the west as a strong diurnal easterly flow pattern developed late tomorrow evening.  This wind shift will bring smoke into much of the Snake River Plain from Island Park to Boise in the late evening and early Wednesday hours.

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 Monday, August 22nd at 3:00 p.m.
  • The Twin Falls Regional Office has extended a Stage 1 Air Quality Forecast and Caution for Blaine and Camas Counties. Valid through Monday, August 22nd at 1:00 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.