Sick of the smoke? You can do your share for the air

Here's a sneak preview of our Wednesday editorial.

The Treasure Valley’s smoke-a-thon — the hazy grayish days, punctuated by improbably pink sunrises and sunsets — is beyond our control.

Our air, after all, is just the air that has drifted our way from fire country. And we’re surrounded, at the mercy of wildfires just outside the Valley, and others as far away as California.

So, go ahead and blame California, if you find cathartic value in it. Then take a deep breath (if you’re game) and keep things in perspective.

We’ve had bad air like this before.

And we’ll have bad air like this again.

No matter what we do.

There is simply no avoiding it.

The Valley’s air quality problems are a function of topography. The Foothills that, under better conditions, provide a scenic backdrop and an urban recreational getaway also trap polluted air. When bad air comes into this valley, during fire season or the winter inversion season, we just have to wait for windy conditions or a strong weather system to push out the smoke and the grit.

This is no comfort to those most likely to be affected by air pollution: people who suffer with lung disease or heart disease. And this isn’t news to anyone who has lived in the Valley for very long.

But it does serve as a call to action.

When it comes to air quality, we need to control what we can control.

That means knowing and following the rules about open burning and outdoor burning. Burn bans kick in during less serious, “yellow” air alerts, unlike the current air alert, which has fluctuated between “orange” and “red.” Learn your local rules — but don’t plan on any open burning any time soon.

It also means driving smarter. Walking or biking may be out of the question — or at least unpleasant — when thick pollution sets in. So find ways to conserve gas and reduce tailpipe emissions: combine trips, arrange car pools, limit idling and use your air conditioner as sparingly as possible. (Yes, the latter is easier said than done, especially when high temperatures continue to flirt with triple digits. But, as the state Department of Environmental Quality notes, running an air conditioner can reduce a car’s fuel efficiency by 20 percent.)

Wildfires are beyond our control. Hot, stagnant weather is a fact of midsummer life in the Valley. We can’t do a thing about either. But if we can take some common-sense steps and get into some common-sense habits, we can do our share to keep a bad situation from getting worse.

And isn’t that a little more constructive than blaming California?


That's an editorial?

fire country?
our topography?
a call to action?

Here's my action- burning some newspaper!

Here KR goes again...

telling us poor souls what to do. In the summer he tells us to drive less, use less electricity, don't use your air conditioner in your car, less idiling, less emissions, etc., etc. When winter arrives he will tell us to use less heating fuel, drive less, walk or ride your bike to work. He does it, so everyone else should. This is the same far left-wing journalist who agrees with Obama policies but will endorse Rommey because his corporate bosses know this is a conservative state.

When is Kev going to go after Reid for the lies he is telling?

This newspaper endorsed Obama/Biden ticket in 2008.

And has carried their water for 3 1/2 years.

Of course it did,

faced with the alternative and the bleak history of the Bush Administration.

The Statesman also endorsed many Republican candidates for national and state offices. Does a newspaper have to endorse only the candidates of one party to be credible?

sure hope not. Perhaps Statesman editors think as I do - supporting the best candidate, rather than blindly supporting all Ds or all Rs. Neither party has a monopoly on quality - and there are losers in both.

Back to the topic at hand.

Endorsing is honorable. Schlepping is dishonest.

Thus, the downfall of MSM print media.

I'm going to go build a big

I'm going to go build a big bonfire in my fire pit right now just to annoy Kevin. I'll use dry leaves too just to ensure it is extra smoky. Oh, and I'll leave my SUV idling in the driveway while I do it.


Well, I'm sure that would teach us all a lesson. The point of the editorial was to say that there are small, but constructive things people can do to keep a bad air pollution situation from getting worse. I'm not sure I understand what you, and other commenters, find so objectionable.

Kevin Richert
editorial page editor