Jennifer Duguay / NWPR

Private companies are essential in fighting the mega-wildfires that yearly burn through the backcountry and encroach on towns. One fire company in the Methow Valley is a family affair.

Jennifer Duguay / NWPR

Wildland firefighters are a tight-knit group. After years of fighting fires together in the remote wilderness and on the edges of suburbia, you get to know a lot of people. And for one fire company in Washington’s Methow Valley, the bond is even stronger.

Multi Agency Fire Training Underway In Washington

Jun 27, 2016
U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr

Eleven-hundred firefighters have begun training for wildfire season in Washington.

Courtney Flatt / Northwest Public Radio

The past few fire seasons in the Northwest have been brutal. Record-breaking blazes burned through the towns of Chelan and Pateros. This year is already starting out dry and hot. That’s why hundreds of firefighters across Washington are prepping for the summer.

Unhealthy smoke continued to blanket large parts of central and eastern Washington state and north Idaho Wednesday. Some workers in north central Washington were sent home because the dense smoke was rated downright “hazardous.”

A juvenile inmate helping fight wildfires in North Central Washington escaped Friday after allegedly assaulting a staff member. Officials have said the inmate no longer poses a threat to the community. Courtney Flatt has more. 

The Chelan County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that the escaped inmate was flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle after a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The inmate had stolen a gun the previous night.  

Fire Begins To Approach Okanogan

Aug 20, 2015
AP Images

Update 8/21 morning: Firefighters worked through the night digging hand lines and protecting structures as winds picked up in the hills above the Okanogan Valley. One front of the Okanogan Complex fires is now within two miles of the town of Okanogan itself. 

The U.S. Forest Service confirmed the names of three firefighters killed in a wildfire Wednesday night in Twisp, Washington.

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Correspondent Anna King brings us the sound of the front lines of the First Creek fire near Lake Chelan in north central Washington state.

Incident Information System

As is often the case this time of year, much of the West is under a cloud of smoke.   Wildfires are again decreasing the air quality in nearby communities.  But the smoke also presents an opportunity for researchers. 

Fires continue to burn around Lake Chelan in central Washington Monday. Nearly 3,000 residents have been evacuated so far and dozens of homes have burned as firefighters struggle to gain any control over the blaze.

AP Images

Crews in Washington state are working a fire that’s burned 10,000 acres along the eastern portion of the Columbia River Gorge.

Tuesday, residents of the town of Roosevelt were evacuated, but have since started to return.

The grass fire started in Klickitat County.

About 300 residents in Roosevelt were evacuated, according to the county’s emergency management center.

Officials also closed a portion of Highway 14 in both directions.

The fire burned some vehicles and outbuildings, but homes were not destroyed.

sean dreilinger / flickr

A wildfire southeast of Portland has grown to more than 3,500 acres and threatens more than 160 homes. Firefighters are expected to catch a break from the hot, dry conditions for a few days until the next round of warm weather moves into the region this weekend. The "36 Pit" fire is just the latest in a series of large fires in the Northwest this summer. 

This summer's active wildfire season is stretching fire crews to the limit. This week, virtually every available wildland firefighter in the Northwest is on the scene of a blaze. Correspondent Chris Lehman reports.

Firefighters Camped out in Winthrop

Jul 22, 2014
nex12go / Flickr

There's a small city of firefighters camped out on the grounds of Liberty Bell High School in Winthrop. Some 2,100 firefighters are living there as they battle the wildfire known as the Carlton Complex.