smoke

Idaho Falls is seen from Sunnyside Road on Tuesday, September 15, 2020. The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality’s Idaho Falls Region said Tuesday that air quality across eastern Idaho was still “unhealthy for sensitive groups” because of high levels of particles.

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As smoke from blazes across the West Coast trickles into Idaho, eastern Idaho seems to be seeing only minimal effects thus far.

The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality’s Idaho Falls Region said Tuesday that air quality across eastern Idaho was still “unhealthy for sensitive groups” because of high levels of particles.

Wednesday will look similar, the agency said in its daily air quality report. Conditions could improve Thursday, when the agency says the area’s air quality will likely improve to “moderate” as particles dissipate. The regional office’s next update will come out 2 p.m. Friday.

Outdoor burns are prohibited in nine counties that DEQ says have poor air quality here: Bonneville, Butte, Clark, Custer, Fremont, Jefferson, Lemhi, Madison and Teton.

DEQ recommends everyone limit time outdoors and “prolonged/heavy exertion.”

“When air quality is unhealthy, everyone may begin to experience health effects. Members of sensitive groups ... may experience more serious effects & should avoid prolonged/heavy exertion & stay indoors,” the agency said.

Idaho Smoke Information, a blog that compiles information from more than a dozen fire and health agencies, said Tuesday that “Southeast Idaho will again avoid all but the lightest impacts today.”

Additionally, on the local wildfire front, Bureau of Land Management officials said Tuesday that crews “have made good progress” fighting an at least 419-acre wildfire near the Blackfoot Reservoir. They expect to have the fire fully contained at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

The Blackfoot Mountain Fire began on private land and now spans across state land, according to the Eastern Idaho Interagency Fire Center. It is still under investigation.

Reporter Kyle Pfannenstiel can be reached at 208-542-6754. Follow him on Twitter: @pfannyyy. He is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.