No breathing room

Haze leads to burn ban, bad-air advisories

Print Article

SHAWN GUST/Press Carlos Venzor, of Coeur d'Alene, rides on the Centennial Trail Thursday as hazy skies diffuse the landscape around him.

As smoke from southern wildfires continues to clog the Panhandle skies, most of the five northern counties have been issued air quality advisories and Stage One burn bans through this afternoon.

"Some of it's a little surprising," said Mark Boyle with the Department of Environmental Quality, about the wildfires' pollution. "The lower level winds migrate it up here."

Kootenai County, still hosting patches of gray overhead on Thursday afternoon, has a Moderate air quality forecast and a ban against any outdoor burning today, according to the DEQ.

Areas of Benewah and Shoshone counties have the same burn ban, and an air quality status of Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups. Bonner County has the burn ban and a Moderate air quality advisory.

Poor atmospheric mixing is expected throughout the day, Boyle confirmed.

"Any ground-level smoke generated from wildfires is likely to persist at the low levels, at or just above our breathing level," he said.

Kootenai County's air quality forecast advises that individuals unusually sensitive to smoke should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors.

The Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups status in other areas recommends that the elderly, children and anyone with heart or lung disease should reduce long or active outdoor exercise.

"It's pretty common sense right now," Boyle said. "If you are feeling impacts, get ahold of your healthcare provider. Don't delay."

Prestige Senior Living in Coeur d'Alene has taken the precautionary route, said RN Debbie Brouillette.

Staff ensures residents on oxygen or with other health issues aren't going out or sitting outside for long periods of time, Brouillette said.

"For an extended length of time, you get more concerned," she said of the smoky haze. "When it's just a day here or there with the field burning, that's one thing, but now I'm getting more concerned."

The burn ban could have benefits beyond air quality. Glenn Lauper with the Coeur d'Alene Fire Department said there haven't been any notable fires in the region - yet.

But "historically, October is the month we go into pretty extreme (fire hazard) if we don't get any moisture," Lauper said, adding that the district is meeting with organizations about emergency preparedness.

The air quality advisories and the burn ban are in effect through 4:30 p.m.

DEQ expects pollutants to build through the weekend, as low level winds herd the smoke back toward North Idaho and Eastern Washington. Boyle said the wildfire smoke has been lingering in North Idaho since about Sept. 14.

"If you're susceptible to the pollutants, they're likely to come and go over the next few days," Boyle said.

Print Article

Read More Local News

Steal a sign, commit a crime

October 20, 2017 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press Stealing candidate signs is one of the oldest shady election stunts in the book. It's also against the law. Deborah Rose, who is running for the Timberlake Fire Protection District's Sub-District ...

Comments

Read More

Threat probe isn’t over at LCHS

October 20, 2017 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press COEUR d'ALENE — The investigation involving a Lake City High student who was threatened on social media on Oct. 8 continues and heightened safety measures at the school remain in effect a week after ...

Comments

Read More

Former Spirit Lake police chief jailed

October 20, 2017 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press COEUR d’ALENE — A former Spirit Lake police chief is in the Kootenai County jail facing a felony charge of aggravated battery for allegedly ramming his Dodge pickup truck into the car of his pregnant...

Comments

Read More

Threatening note found near Lakes Middle School

October 20, 2017 at 11:33 am | Coeur d'Alene Press An additional police officer is stationed at Lakes Middle School today after a note with a written threat was found Thursday on the school’s Coeur d’Alene campus. Early today, school officials no...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(208) 664-8176
215 N. Second St
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83814

©2017 The Coeur d'Alene Press Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X