The statewide air quality advisory has been extended through 10 a.m. Friday, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality announced this morning, due to continued poor air quality from wildfire smoke. That means all open burning, including campfires, continues to be banned statewide.
“Air quality remains in the Moderate to Very Unhealthy categories throughout most of the state,” said Jacob Wolf, DEQ’s air quality meteorologist. Wolf said he expects statewide impacts to continue through today. “Friday offers a possibility of relief to the southern Idaho airsheds, as the upper level winds shift to the southwest.” But, he said, “High concentrations are expected to persist in north Idaho.”
The statewide alert was first imposed on Tuesday, running through 10 a.m. today. Today’s extension means the DEQ will do another county-by-county review on Friday morning to see whether or where to extend it.
Statewide air quality alerts are rare, but not unprecedented; the last one in Idaho was in August of 2015, and the previous one was in September of 2012.
As of 10 a.m. today, Boise’s air quality index was 183, high in the red or “unhealthy” range. Coeur d’Alene’s at 9 a.m. was 266, well into the purple or “very unhealthy” range. Sandpoint was at 222; Porthill, 274; Lewiston, 207; Garden Valley, 210. Pocatello’s air is down in the yellow or “moderate” range at an AQI of 77 this morning; Idaho Falls was at 97, near the top of the moderate range. Spokane remains in the “very unhealthy” range at 271.