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Idaho Fire Incident Map

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

08/23/2016 Idaho DEQ Smoke Forecast

Updated 11am MDT Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Valid through Noon MDT Wednesday, August 24, 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 Ketchum, Pocatello, Rexburg, and Franklin, as well as the Coeur d’Alene Tribe’s monitor in Plummer which are reading in the Moderate Category.  Idaho City is currently reading in the Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups Category.
A slow moving upper level low over southern Canada/Montana will provide continued northwest winds with cooler temperatures.  Surface wind speeds will range between 5-15 mph with gusts to 35 mph across the Upper Snake River Plain.  Surface wind direction will be from the west-northwest with southwest winds over the Upper Snake and the Purcell Trench.  Skies will be sunny to mostly sunny all day with mostly cloudy skies over the extreme northern Panhandle where there is a slight chance for isolated thunderstorms this afternoon.  Mixing heights will range from 2,000-8,000 feet AGL.  Transport wind speed will be between 10-20 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.

Smoke from the Pioneer Fire will affect the Ketchum area within the Big and Little Wood drainages into the Arco Desert to Pocatello.  This afternoon, a northwest to west wind will provide some clearing out of the Snake River Plain.  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 down across Latah County and east this afternoon.  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, widespread light smoke aloft is expected into the afternoon from the Upper Treasure Valley east to Idaho Falls and north to Coeur d’Alene and Pinehurst.  A northeast-east flow will develop across northern Idaho tomorrow which may advect smoke from the Copper King Fire in Montana into the area. Southern Idaho will see a northeast wind shift later in the evening, once the inversion has developed, which looks to bring increased smoke into the Upper Snake River Plain from Idaho Falls and north while also bringing heavy smoke into the Salmon River and Lower Clearwater drainages.  By Thursday, a widespread easterly wind component will provide light smoke across all of the Snake River Plain and much of the I-90 corridor as well as the Clearwater area.

DEQ Air Quality Forecast and Cautions:
  • The Coeur d’Alene Regional Office has issued a Stage 1 Air Quality Forecast and Caution for Bonner, Boundary, Kootenai, Benewah and Shoshone Counties. Valid through Tuesday, August 23rd at 12:00 p.m.
  • The Boise Regional Office has extended a Stage 1 Air Quality Forecast and Caution for Boise County. Valid through Tuesday, August 23rd at 3:00 p.m.
  • The Twin Falls Regional Office has lifted a Stage 1 Air Quality Forecast and Caution for Blaine and Camas Counties
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.