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Smoky haze drops visibility down to 4 miles in Boise. Red flag warning issued in S. Idaho

Wildfires burning in California and Oregon are sending smoke into the Treasure Valley, reducing visibility to as low as 4 miles on Tuesday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.

Fires burning in northern and eastern Idaho aren’t contributing to the poor air quality in the Valley, said Troy Lindquist, a meteorologist with the Weather Service in Boise.

More smoke could be coming from the west and southwest soon — as thunderstorms are in the forecast this afternoon and evening in eastern Oregon and southern Idaho.

Real-time air quality monitors are showing that some parts of Boise have diminished to orange alert level, which means that pollution levels are unhealthy for sensitive groups, including children, the elderly and people with heart or lung disease.

Scattered thunderstorms are expected to wrap up around midnight. Outflow winds could create gusts up to 40 mph, though the storms are expected to be far enough south of the Treasure Valley that it won’t push smoke out of the Boise area. There’s nothing in the forecast for the foreseeable future that will clear out the smoke over the Valley, Lindquist said.

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The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for much of southern Idaho. National Weather Service

The Weather Service issued a red flag warning for eastern Oregon and southern Idaho from 3-11 p.m. Tuesday. That means conditions are ripe for wildfires to occur and spread rapidly; high temperatures, low humidity and strong winds can create extreme fire behavior.

Lightning caused fires that burned more than 52,000 acres in the Magic Valley last week, according to the Times-News. The last of those fires has been contained, the paper reported Tuesday.

Katy Moeller: 208-377-6413