As Treasure Valley air quality hits red, schools move recess indoors

Posted at 5:24 PM, Sep 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-05 19:24:26-04

Hazy smoke from western wildfires is settling down in the Treasure Valley, changing the air quality to red. Health officials say the air quality right now is unhealthy for everyone, and recommend staying indoors.

"We're probably getting smoke from every fire that's out there," said Mike Toole, spokesman for the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality.

The air over Boise smells like a campfire, and the DEQ says it's the worst they've seen all year.

"We've seen some high numbers earlier, but not to the level we're seeing right now," Toole said. "We're seeing some fairly high hourly levels, with the anticipation that we'll continue to see them over the next couple of days."

Health leaders say air quality levels may not begin to drop until later this week. 

Playgrounds across the Treasure Valley were empty Tuesday, Sept. 5, as the poor air quality forced school officials to move recess and physical education classes indoors. 

"We're fortunate that we have technology in our schools, so we have Chromebook stations, iPad stations," said Valeri Uhlorn, Principal of Amity Elementary School. "A lot of the kids like to play card games, board games, and some just like to read and draw." 

School officials say if the air quality continues in the red, outdoor activities may be suspended.