Heavy amounts of wildfire smoke pushed Custer, Butte, Lemhi, Bonneville, Clark, Fremont, Jefferson, Madison and Teton counties into the unhealthy for sensitive groups category of air quality Sept. 14.

According to a press release from the Department of Environmental Quality, fine particulate matter in the air from wildfires has reached an unsafe level for people with heart and lung diseases, older adults and children. People within these groups are asked to stay indoors and limit their amount of activity outside.

In conjunction with the notification, department officials are also putting a voluntary burn ban on residential wood stoves and a total ban on outdoor open burning.

According to the press release, the air quality is forecast to remain in the unhealthy for sensitive groups category, perhaps even jump to the unhealthy in general category, for the foreseeable future.

For more information, call the department’s Idaho Falls office at 208-528-2650. For real-time air monitoring information, visit airquality.deq.idaho.gov.