With most of the state’s air ranking in the orange, red or dreaded purple category, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality issued alerts Friday that banned outdoor burning in every county.
Some individual areas have seen worse conditions this year, but this is the first time so much of the state was subjected to breathing air that is considered unhealthy, said Mary Anderson, the state’s smoke-management program coordinator.
“I don’t ever remember it being quite this bad,” Anderson said.
Air in the Treasure Valley was in the orange category most of Friday, as it was in Twin Falls, Pocatello and Idaho Falls.
Other areas had it worse. Air in and around Lewiston, Salmon and Grangeville was ranked in the red category.
Orange air quality is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups. Older adults, seniors and people who suffer from lung diseases are encouraged to avoid strenuous outdoor activity.
Red or purple air quality means everybody should follow that advice.