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Portland on list of cities with worst air quality in world; Boise conditions improve

How smoky is it? Check out these before-and-after images

Scenic vistas and cityscapes across the Northwest have virtually disappeared thanks to wildfire smoke blanketing the region.
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Scenic vistas and cityscapes across the Northwest have virtually disappeared thanks to wildfire smoke blanketing the region.

It’s not going to help you breathe any easier knowing the air quality is worse someplace else.

But consider this, Boise: Portland had the second-worst air quality in the world on Thursday, behind only Jakarta, Indonesia, according to Willamette Week. Wildfires burning across the West are still putting out a miserable amount of smoke.

Portland was on AirVisual.com’s list of 10 major cities with the worst air quality all day Thursday, falling to the bottom of the list in the late afternoon. San Francisco was also on the list. On Friday morning, neither Portland nor San Francisco were on the list, which is now topped by Kabul, Afghanistan.

Earlier this week, media were reporting that Seattle’s air quality was worse than Beijing, China, and citing a report by Berkeley Earth that the breathing the air in the Emerald City was akin to inhaling more than nine cigarettes.

So if you’re planning to try to escape the Treasure Valley’s smoky air this weekend, you might not want to head west or northwest. Also, heading east probably won’t help — the air quality in eastern Idaho is bad Friday morning, in the “red” or unhealthy for everyone zone.

Click here to see real-time air quality monitors. Boise’s air quality was also in the red zone Friday morning.

But it had improved by mid-morning to “orange” or unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as children, the elderly and people with heart or lung conditions. Health officials advise the public, particularly sensitive individuals, to limit strenuous activity outside.

A National Weather Service meteorologist said earlier in the week that there was a chance that the smoke would clear Friday — and that proved to be true. Real-time air monitors were showing healthy to moderate levels of pollution at 4 p.m., and IDEQ issued a yellow air quality alert for Saturday.

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Darin Oswald doswald@idahostatesman.com


Katy Moeller: 208-377-6413

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