Not so much, these days. (You'll have to take my word for it - that photo below is Shelby from the north I-15 interchange.) For many folks, just breathing has become a real issue.

The following information is from Kristi Akelstad, Toole County Public Health Nurse :

(Photo: Anne James)

With fires covering over 600,000 acres of the northwest and raging, smoke is in the air. In Toole County, where none of the forest fires are currently located but are threatening, one only has to look up at grey skies or inhale to detect the effects.  While fall weather may bring cooler temps, forest fire activity does not generally cease until snowfall occurs in the mountains.

Air quality generally refers to the amount of particulate in the air. In times of fire, the smoke and ash can lower air quality to a point where there is danger while exercising or even being outside for periods of time.  While the Department of Environmental Quality or the DEQ issues bulletins daily regarding current readings from several Air Quality Monitoring Stations across the state, it should be remembered that weather patterns can change quickly which may lead to a reduction of air quality and that people with certain health conditions such as asthma may be more sensitive during these times.

Toole County Public Health Nurse Kristi Aklestad reminds, “Some people especially those with underlying lung conditions such as asthma or heart conditions may be particularly sensitive to the air quality. Please exercise caution during this time when performing prolonged outdoor activities.” Aklestad recommends utilizing the visibility guide that DEQ provides.

Health Effect Category




13.4 miles and up

Outdoor events as usual

Moderate/Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups

5.1 to 13.3 miles

Outdoor events as usual. Athletes with asthma should have rescue inhalers readily available and monitor symptoms


2.2-5.0 miles

Consider postponing/delaying outdoor sporting events especially high exertion activities

Very Unhealthy

1.3 miles or less

Cancel all outdoor sporting events or relocate to indoor location

At all times, athletes experiencing respiratory symptoms should consult their personal healthcare provider.

For more information, go to the DEQ website  or contact your local provider or the Toole County Health Department.