NEWS RELEASE--FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Date: Aug. 12, 2013
Contact: Niki Forbing-Orr
Public Information Officer
Air quality in central Idaho mountains now designated unhealthy because of fires
Outdoor activities should be limited in those areas, public health officials say
Air quality in some central Idaho mountains has reached an “Unhealthy for sensitive groups” or “Unhealthy” designation, and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s Division of Public Health is alerting people to limit outdoor activity. The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is forecasting unhealthy levels for areas of Boise, Elmore, Blaine, Camas and Custer counties. Because of wildfire activity and weather patterns, air quality conditions are not expected to significantly improve through this week.
People exposed to smoke may experience symptoms such as coughing and shortness of breath. Older adults, infants, children and people with medical conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and heart disease are often more affected. People who use inhalers for asthma or other conditions should keep them close at hand. People are advised to seek medical treatment for uncontrolled coughing, wheezing, choking, or if they have difficulty breathing once they move back indoors.
To reduce your exposure to smoke and protect your health, public health officials advise:
Not all areas of the state have air quality monitors, so people are encouraged to be cautious if visibility is affected because of smoke and particulates from wildfires. If visibility is reduced to less than 6 miles, sensitive groups should limit activity. If visibility is reduced to less than three miles, air quality is considered unhealthy for everyone.
Daily updates on air quality conditions at various locations in Idaho are available on DEQ's Air Quality Reports and Forecasts webpage. For areas where air quality monitors are not available, the Visibility Range and AQI Table can help determine the necessary precautions to take. For more complete information about wildfires in your area visit the Idaho Smoke Information Blog.
For more information on protecting your health from wildfire smoke, visit Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s Wildfire Smoke and Your Health webpage.