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Idaho Fire Incident Map

Thursday, September 1, 2016

09/01/2016 Idaho DEQ Smoke Forecast

Updated 8am MDT Thursday, September 1, 2016

Valid through Noon MDT Friday, September 2, 2016

Smoke Outlook

Air quality is forecast to continue to remain in the Good to Moderate air quality category across the state today.  Current elevated DEQ monitors include Pocatello, Lewiston and St. Maries which are reading in the Moderate Category. Franklin is currently reading in the Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups Category. Lowman was in the Unhealthy Category for yesterday’s 24 hour AQI, Garden Valley was reading in the Unhealthy For Sensitive Groups 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 and Southeast Highlands today 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 5-20 mph with higher speeds across the Central Idaho Mountains and eastern Idaho.  Gusts at the surface will reach up to 30 mph across the Upper Snake River Plain and 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 2,000-10,000 feet AGL.  Transport wind speed will be between 10-25 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.  Inversions are expected to break between 10am-12noon.

Smoke 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 to the northeast this afternoon with limited lift due to the strong winds.  The southerly flow pattern will help move smoke out of the Snake River Plain today and will continue to move smoke from the Pioneer Fire northeast as to impact the Challis/Salmon area this evening.  Due to the strong westerly wind component, north Idaho remains relatively clear of smoke, with high altitude smoke possible north of Lake Pend Oreille as well as a chance for smoke to enter Coeur d’Alene from fires in central Washington.  Tonight, expect limited drainage impacts within the Snake River Plain. 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.  That smoke is then expected to drain into the Upper Snake River Plain and Middle Snake River Plain via the Big and Little Lost and Lemhi Valley drainages primarily impacting Monteview and Terreton in the early morning hours on Friday.

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 Thursday, September 1st at 3:00 p.m.

View real time smoke monitoring at:

View DEQ near-real time monitoring at:

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

·         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

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.