Smoke from Boise recycling center fire fouls Valley air, cancels games

A 12-acre fire at a recycling center Sunday afternoon was contained a few hours later, but smoke from the blaze continued to foul Boise-area air throughout Monday, canceling some games.

Overall air quality on Monday and the forecast for Tuesday was gauged as orange, or moderate, according the Department of Environmental Quality.

The smoky air prompted area school districts to cancel some events, including the Nampa-Capital, Borah-Mountain View and Meridian-Timberline girls soccer games.

"When the fire was happening it was so hot that all that smoke and debris goes straight up into the air because of the heat," Boise Fire Department Battallion Chief Tom Lovell told KIVI-TV, Channel 6. " But now we're actually cooling the top and there's smoldering going on because there's embers burning down below.

“ [It's] kind of like your fireplace when you throw water on it: It will just sit there and smoke and that cold smoke sticks a little bit closer to the ground and so that's kind of why it's hanging around here in the valley."

The owner of the recycling facility said they expect damages to total more than $100,000 in damage, Channel 6 reports. The fire destroyed a shed, a chipper, and a semi truck and trailer. Barry said recyclable materials caught fire, mostly wood.

On Tuesday, crews were still on scene and preparing to remain on scene until at least Wednesday morning, since the fire was about 20 feet deep, Barry said.

On Sunday the fire at Diamond Street Recycling, 5800 W. Diamond St. near the Boise Airport, threw flames as high as 100 feet. The cause of the fire is undetermined, BFD spokeswoman Tammy Barry said Monday morning, and mop-up is expected to take a few days.

An orange air quality alert means the air in unhealthy for sensitive people, like children, the elderly and folks with respiratory health issues. Outdoor burning is banned across Ada County, and brings with it recommendations to limit your driving, according to the DEQ.