Smoke on the horizon

Print Article

  • Photo by MANDI BATEMAN Two photos of the same view of the Kootenai River, both taken on clear days. The bottom photo shows the lack of visibility of Aug. 4, when the AQI reached level “Unhealthy.”

  • 1

    Photo by Mandi Bateman Two photos of the moon, taken two days apart. The orange moon on the right was taken August 4.

  • Photo by MANDI BATEMAN Two photos of the same view of the Kootenai River, both taken on clear days. The bottom photo shows the lack of visibility of Aug. 4, when the AQI reached level “Unhealthy.”

  • 1

    Photo by Mandi Bateman Two photos of the moon, taken two days apart. The orange moon on the right was taken August 4.

BONNERS FERRY — Smoke has been filling the air of Boundary County, obscuring the beautiful vistas that the residents have become accustomed to, and washing all color from the sky. Mountains disappeared into the haze, the sun cast a strange glow, and the moon resembled a farm fresh egg yolk at night.

According to the Air Quality Index (AQI) on August 4, the values registered 165 by the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho and 171 by Mt. Hall, the highest that it has been this year, putting the area in the ‘Unhealthy’ category for that day.

The AQI is a scale of 0-500, with the higher value meaning greater level of air pollution, and a greater health concern. The Environmental Protection Agency set an AQI rating of 100 as the national air quality standard for the pollutant, to protect public health. Anything higher that 100 is considered unhealthy. From 101-150, the rating is ‘Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups’.

The next level is ‘unhealthy’, where everyone may begin to experience some adverse health effects, and members of the sensitive groups, including people with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children, may experience more serious effects. To be on the safe side, those in the sensitive groups should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion and spend time indoors, with windows shut and air conditioners on, if possible. When driving a vehicle, it is best to keep windows shut and set the air to recycle.

Prolonged exertion is defined as any outdoor activity, performed intermittently for several hours requiring breathing slightly harder than normal. An example of this is working in the yard for part of a day.

Heavy exertion refers to intense outdoor activities that causes hard breathing. When the air quality is unhealthy, reducing heavy exertion, such as walking instead of jogging, is advisable. If experiencing any unusual coughing, chest discomfort, wheezing, breathing difficulty, or unusual fatigue, it is best to reduce activity level.

According to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, “Smoke from wildfires is a mixture of gases and fine particles from burning trees and other plant materials. Smoke can hurt your eyes, irritate your respiratory system, and worsen chronic heart and lung diseases. Smoke can cause coughing, scratchy throat, irritated sinuses, shortness of breath, chest pain, headaches, stinging eyes, and runny nose.”

“Contrary to popular belief, common dust masks will not protect you from wildfire smoke,” states the Lung Institute on their website, “nor will bandanas (wet or dry) surgical masks or tissues. This is because the particles found in wildfire smoke are much too small for a common mask to filter out.”

According to Idaho DEQ Regional Air Quality Manager Shawn Sweetapple, on August 7, the National Weather Service’s forecasts that, “The conditions that are bringing smoke into the region from the British Columbia fires will continue to at least Saturday. They are predicting that a low pressure system that is currently in the gulf of Alaska will push the high pressure system out and bring back our normal southwesterly winds. Those southwest winds should relieve our smoky conditions.”

Print Article

Read More Local News

Teens reported missing from Bonners Ferry

February 17, 2018 at 1:11 pm | Bonner County Daily Bee BONNERS FERRY ­— The Boundary County Sheriff’s Office is reporting that two teenage girls may have been lured away from their Bonners Ferry homes. Kaia Kramer 13, and Alisa Hannaman, 14-15, were rep...

Comments

Read More

Naples Food Cupboard provides, needs help

February 15, 2018 at 6:00 am | Bonners Ferry Herald BONNERS FERRY — A person or family does not need to be homeless, or lazy, or irresponsible, to need help. Many people across the country and in our own community live paycheck to paycheck. One small ...

Comments

Read More

Life Flight called to accident on Peterson Hill

February 15, 2018 at 6:00 am | Bonners Ferry Herald BONNERS FERRY — An two vehicle injury collision occurred around 5:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 10, at the north end of Pleasant Valley Loop near the top of Peterson Hill. The collision involved two Ford...

Comments

Read More

Jiu-Jitsu teaches wellness in all forms

February 15, 2018 at 6:00 am | Bonners Ferry Herald BONNERS FERRY — Master Sylvio Behring from Brazil returned to teach another seminar at the local Bonners Ferry Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu studio (BJJ). Owner and teacher, Sam Brown, invited his mentor Masto...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(208) 267-5521
Po Box 539
Bonners Ferry, Id 83805

©2018 Bonners Ferry Herald Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X