Smoke from forest fires clogs Valley air

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- Smoke here, smoke there, smoke everywhere -- it seems almost impossible to get away from it.

So how far up do you have to go to find some blue sky?

Well, we went all the way up to Shafer Butte picnic area (some 7,500 feet above sea level) where we finally found a patch of blue. But down below us, there was nothing but smoke and haze as far as the eye could see in the Valley.

But what if you can't go 7,500 feet above sea level right now.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare says small children, older adults and people with breathing or heart conditions should limit activity outside if the smoke reduces visibility to less than eight miles.

Visibility was seven miles by early afternoon this day.

But when they say limit your activity, just how much do they mean? So we asked an ER doctor at Saint Alphonsus Hospital.

"It's hard to give you an exact number," said Dr. Chris Wyatt. "I recommend going off how you feel. If you're coughing, your eyes sting, and it's hard to breathe. That means a lot of irritants out there. But don't over-react. Doing your regular daily activities walking out to your car, going to stores, that's fine. Unless you're really sensitive."