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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

08/31/2016 Idaho DEQ Smoke Forecast

Updated 8am MDT Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Valid through Noon MDT Thursday, September 1, 2016

Smoke Outlook


Air quality is forecast to continue to remain in the Good to Moderate air quality category across the state today.  Currently DEQ monitors are elevated to the Moderate Category across the state with areas in the Good Category. Garden Valley is reporting in the Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups Category.  Lowman was in the Very Unhealthy Category for yesterday’s 24 hour AQI, Garden Valley was reading in the high Unhealthy Category for the 24 hour AQI yesterday, and Stanley and Garden City were in the Moderate Category on a 24 hour AQI reading.  Continue to expect higher readings and impacts in the morning before clearing after 1pm.
                                                  
The upper level low pressure system will drop over Vancouver Island today. This will provide for a slight chance of showers over the eastern Central Idaho Mountains and account for strong, afternoon winds across much of Idaho. We should see increased cloud cover over the Central Idaho Mountains and Snake River Plain and slightly cooler temperatures.  For today, surface wind speeds will range from 5-15 mph with higher speeds across the Central Idaho Mountains.  Surface wind direction will be from southwest with locally northwest winds within the Treasure Valley and western Magic Valley.  Expect northwest to southwest winds across northern Idaho.  Mixing heights will range from 2,000-11,000 feet AGL.  Transport wind speed will be between 5-15 mph and be from the southwest with locally northwest winds over the Treasure Valley, western Magic Valley, and the Clearwater drainages of central Idaho.  Ventilation is forecast to be POOR in the morning and GOOD in the afternoon with locally MARGINAL ventilation across much of southwest Idaho.  Expect POOR to locally MARGINAL ventilation across all of northern Idaho outside of Boundary County. Inversions are expected to break between 10am-12noon.

The Pioneer fire will continue to produce smoke as it rapidly grows.  Impacts are expected to be greater in the morning prior to the inversion lift.  Dispersion this afternoon looks to be good and will promote clearing after the inversion lifts around 12noon-1pm today over southern Idaho.  Smoke will push nearly due north into the west-central Mountains today.  The southerly flow pattern will help move smoke out of the Snake River Plain today and looks to shift to the southwest and continue to move smoke from the Pioneer Fire northeast, north of Salmon this morning, but turning more southwest as to impact the Challis/Salmon area this evening.  Smoke looks to push as far north as the Canadian border this afternoon, but looks to remain east of the Continental Divide; however there may be some drainage of this smoke down the mountain valleys into north Idaho.  As smoke moves nearly due north from the Pioneer fire into central Idaho expect it to reach the Salmon River Corridor as well as north to the Idaho County/Clearwater County line.  This smoke will drain down into the Kooskia/Kamiah area to Orofino.  Elsewhere tonight, expect smoke to drain into the Lower Treasure Valley from the west as smoke from fires in Oregon settles with the setting sun. Tomorrow, south-southwest winds will keep smoke out of the Snake River Plain but looks to bring the smoke directly into the Salmon and Challis areas in the afternoon and early evening tomorrow.


DEQ Air Quality Forecast and Cautions:                    
  • The Idaho Falls Regional Office has lifted a Stage 1 Air Quality Forecast and Caution for Custer County
  • The Boise Regional Office has extended a Stage 1 Air Quality Forecast and Caution for Boise County. Valid through Wednesday, August 31th at 3:00 p.m.
  • The Twin Falls Regional Office has lifted a Stage 1 Air Quality Forecast and Caution for Blaine County.

View real time smoke monitoring at:  http://www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=topics.smoke_wildfires

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


The USFS installed monitors near Stanley, Idaho, Garden Valley, 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

·         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.