California firefighters `taxed to the limit' seeking help

Flames from the LNU Lightning Complex fires consume a home in Vacaville, Calif., on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. Fire crews across California scrambled to contain dozens of wildfires sparked by lightning strikes as a statewide heat wave continues.

The air quality in East Idaho is unhealthy because of smoke from wildfires burning in California.

The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality's air pollution monitoring equipment in Pocatello, Idaho Falls, Rexburg, Soda Springs and Preston all indicated unhealthy air quality in those places as of 9 a.m. Friday.  

The DEQ says about unhealthy air: "Some members of the general public may experience health effects; members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects."

The poor air quality in East Idaho is expected to continue through at least the weekend.

East Idaho's air quality began to deteriorate on Thursday because of the California wildfire smoke. This prompted the DEQ to issue an air quality alert for several East Idaho counties warning the public about the air pollution from the fires and its possible negative health impact. The DEQ also implemented burning restrictions in East Idaho on Thursday.

East Idaho's unhealthy air quality rating is the third worst of the DEQ's ratings. The worst air quality ratings are very unhealthy — "the risk of health effects is increased for everyone" — followed by the most severe rating of hazardous — constituting a "health warning of emergency conditions" because "everyone is more likely to be affected," according to the DEQ.

The DEQ's air pollution monitoring equipment in the Twin Falls area also listed the air quality there as unhealthy as of Friday morning.

The air quality in other areas of the state was listed as moderate or good on Friday morning.

Stay with idahostatejournal.com for updates on this story.