It may have been one day late, but dozens of balloons filled the smoky skies of Downtown Thursday morning for the Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic.
The opening launch Wednesday morning was scrubbed after technology issues didnt allow up-to-the-minute weather updates balloonists need for safety. That wasnt an issue Thursday morning as about 30 balloons took off from Ann Morrison Park just after 7 a.m. and floated all over town.
Those balloons were greeted by the omnipresent smoke that has been filling the skies of the Treasure Valley since the beginning of the month. The visual affect was pretty cool, but its unclear how much fun it was for the riders inside.
The Boise area is surrounded by wildfires and keeps getting smoke pumped in from blazes burning in California and Oregon during the day and the smoke from massive fires near Stanley, Featherville, and Salmon overnight,
The Idaho Department of Environmental quality has issued a yellow air alert for the Boise Thursday, which means air quality is in the moderate range.
That means most people are OK to be outside (and floating in massive balloons) with the exception of people who have respiratory problems.
The air quality index for Thursday is expected to be 80. Anything over 100 moves air quality into the orange level, like last weekend, when the AQI was 125, mostly because because of smoke from nearby wildfires.
If you think Boise is bad, just be glad you arent in the town of Salmon, which had a purple air quality level at 8 a.m. Thursday, with an AQI of 204. Thats two steps up from the orange air quality we had in town last weekend. Purple air means that everyone could experience serious health effects.
Salmon is being covered by smoke from the 196,000 acre Mustang Fire Complex