Summer Smoke Complications


Melia Blackwell, Opinions Writer

Wildfires are very common in the Northwest. The first wildfire that affected Idaho in 2021 was in about late July or early August and it caused some people to evacuate their houses. 

Some who owned land and had farm animals had to set their animals free because they feared they’d get stuck in their homes before they were released. Some animals were released because the fires were so close to their homes but the home itself wasn’t affected and for a moment people were looking for their animals and reporting them missing.

Businesses, mainly small businesses, were more affected because they likely noticed they weren’t having as many customers as they normally would and the reason being maybe the smoke made it difficult for them to breathe.

Stephanie Harris, a business owner who owns a coffee stand up in Sagle has had to shut down the coffee shop due to the heat and the smoke affecting the barista’s performance.

Erica, a barista who works at two coffee shops; Ground Up Coffee in Sagle and The Brim in Coeur d’Alene, has had to shut down either coffee stand multiple times due to the customer inactivity and the smoke/heat making it difficult to keep machines from overheating.

It’s never fun going outside and experiencing something that’s preventing your day from functioning how it normally would. Going into businesses there weren’t as many people inside as there normally are and the ones who are shopping/roaming around don’t look what most would say happy.

Silverwood workers sadly had to work through the smoke because the fire was not considered close or thick enough for them to have to shut down. What some would consider odd would be the people who are actually from here didn’t seem to mind it as much as the people vacationing here.

Of course, almost no one wants wildfires but to prevent them we can all do our part by not throwing unwanted things out of our vehicles such as food wrappers, plastics and other items.

There are a few ways Idaho has dealt and in a way prevented fires. One of those ways would be telling the communities where to and where not to go and if they can or cannot have fires in those areas. 

As of August 25th, 2021 to present, most of Idaho does not have any restrictions on fires. According to, the stage one restrictions are just basic fire safety rules but they are enforcing that people may only start fires on their own property.

Currently, there are a few lands under restrictions, those areas being “Federal, State, Tribal and private lands (outside of city limits and incorporated areas), which lie within the restriction area boundary.”

As for people who travel here for the summer, there have been more complaints from them than the actual residents here. Some have complained about fire planes and others complain about the smoke in general. 

Not only was the smoke an issue, but the overall heat that came with it. There were multiple days, back to back, that were 100+ degrees and it made people avoid going outside or if they went outside they were mainly by bodies of water like CDA.