Breathing Fire: Wildfire Smoke Forcing Idahoans Indoors

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By Kevin Davenport (Idaho Statesman). Maya Miller (Climate Central) contributed reporting

Ivy Albert’s job is conversation. Working as an interpreter, she helps the hearing impaired by translating things like doctor’s appointments and business meetings to and from American sign language. She was also born with asthma.

This story was produced through a partnership with the Idaho Statesman, a daily newspaper in Boise. It’s part of “Breathing Fire,” a series of research reports and journalism features by Climate Central. The work has received support from the Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University. Read the report.
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Her work requires a lot of talking, something directly impacted by her condition. “When you’re short of breath, it’s really hard to hold a conversation,” she said.

When wildfire season ramps up in Idaho, Albert can feel the toll the smoke takes on her lungs. “It makes me tired,” she said. “I’m working double-time just to breathe.”

Commuting between Boise, where she’s lived for 11 years, and nearby Meridian, she has to travel with the windows down. Her air conditioning doesn’t work; repairing it costs money, money that Albert doesn’t get when she has to give up shifts at work