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Thursday, August 25, 2016

08/25/2016 Idaho DEQ Smoke Forecast

Updated 11am MDT Thursday, August 25, 2016

Valid through Noon MDT Friday, August 26, 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, Custer County, Bonneville County, and Teton County due to the proximity and drainage of the Pioneer Fire as well as fires in western Wyoming.  Current elevated DEQ monitors include Nampa, Garden Valley, Juliaetta, Potlatch, St. Maries, Pinehurst, and The Coeur d’Alene monitor in Plummer which are all currently reading in the Moderate Category.  Franklin is currently in the Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups Category.
                                                  
A weak upper level trough will provide continued northeast to northwest winds with cooler temperatures.  Surface wind speeds will range between 5-15 mph.  Surface wind direction will be from the west-northwest with north-northeast winds across much of northern Idaho.  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.  There will also be a chance for scattered thunderstorms across the Bitterroots and along the Continental Divide this afternoon.  Mixing heights will range from 3,000-11,000 feet AGL.  Transport wind speed will be between 5-10 mph and be from the northwest to north-northeast.  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 and southwest into the Mountain Home area.  This afternoon, a northwest to west wind will provide some clearing out of the Snake River Plain with impacts confined to mainly east of Mountain Home and east through much of the Upper Snake.  Continued impacts into the Idaho Falls, Rexburg, Teton Valley, and Island Park area and south to Soda Springs this morning will lift this afternoon.  An easterly wind across northern Idaho will remove impacts from fires in Washington; however, it will bring morning smoke from Montana fires this morning before lifting out this afternoon.  Brief, morning impacts should be expected across the Silver Valley, Clearwater drainages, and Columbia Basin.  Tomorrow, a stronger westerly component will develop at the surface will push smoke out of the Treasure Valley with impacts likely to be felt from Mountain Home and East within the Snake River Plain.

DEQ Air Quality Forecast and Cautions:
                           
  • The Idaho Falls Regional Office has extended a Stage 1 Air Quality Forecast and Caution for Teton, Bonneville, and Custer Counties. Valid through Thursday, August 25th at 4:00 p.m.
  • The Boise Regional Office has extended a Stage 1 Air Quality Forecast and Caution for Boise County. Valid through Thursday, August 25th at 3:00 p.m.  
View DEQ near-real time monitoring at: http://airquality.deq.idaho.gov/

The USFS installed monitors near Stanley, Idaho, Garden Valley, Idaho, Centerville, 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
·         Garden Valley, ID monitor is Garden Valley-Babcock Lane
·         Centerville, ID monitor is Idaho City-Grimes Pass Road
·         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.