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'Not out of the woods': Air quality conditions improve in the Magic Valley, but smoke may not be gone long

Posted at 6:02 PM, Sep 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-13 20:02:28-04

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) officially removed its burn ban in the Magic Valley on September 13.

Air quality conditions are improving in southern Idaho after a stint of unhealthy conditions caused by wildfires burning across the western United States.

The Magic Valley consistently experiences better air quality due to it's geographic area but with fires still being fought around states like Washington, Oregon, California and in Idaho, conditions are fluid.

“We don’t have that locked-in terrain. We typically have good air quality here. We are usually in the good or moderate category. It’s just when we have the wildfire season we tend to get the smoke from the wildfires and at that that’s when we are mostly impacted,” said Heidi Orr, an air quality compliance officer with DEQ.

Bad air quality can leave a negative affect on a persons health which has lead to many factors such as high school athletics being affected by changing air quality.

Last week, Canyon Ridge High School postponed a Friday game against Columbia to Saturday, which athletic Director Ted Reynolds says can cause issues for an already tricky schedule.

“I was here probably till 10:30 that night just trying to restructure the game for Saturday. We have to do what's best for our kids. If you have a kid out there with asthma or something like that and that air quality is bad, we can’t put kids at risk,” he said.

Consult health physicians and doctors is recommended if people feel worried about going out side during unhealthier conditions. If you are wondering what the air quality is like there is a simple test you can use called the visual index to determine if the air is healthy or not.

“The way that index works is you can see about 10 miles or more then the air quality is good. If your range goes from five to ten miles then its more of a moderate air quality,” said Orr.

For more information on real time air quality, click here. There is also a smoke blog provided by DEQ that can keep you up to date with air quality conditions, here.