Wildfires

Washington Sends Firefighters To California

Oct 11, 2017
Nick Giblin / ASSOCIATED PRESS

 

Nearly 70 Washington firefighters are on their way to battle wildfires in northern California. Two hand crews and seven engines are headed to the Ukiah and Grass Valley areas. 

Geologists for the state of Oregon are warning of the risk of major landslides in parts of the Columbia River Gorge that were hit by wildfires this year.

A new report released Thursday focuses on areas of the Gorge that are highly susceptible to landslides—which also happen to overlap with some of the areas hit by this year’s wildfires.

On a clear day, Jocelyn Bentley-Prestwich can see Mount Adams from the vineyard where she works in Hood River. But lately, she’s had difficulty seeing to the end of her property line. 

With the Eagle Creek Fire burning along the Columbia River Gorge, Hood River has been cloaked in heavy smoke for more than a week. 

INCIWEB

U.S. Army soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, in Washington State, are helping fight fires in southern Oregon. 200 soldiers have been deployed to the Umpqua North Complex of Fires, which has burned nearly 40,000 acres east of Roseburg.

USFWS - Pacific Region

As wildfires rage across the Pacific Northwest, more than just people are displaced from their homes. Finned and furry creatures are also feeling the effects of the flames. 

Until the fires stop burning, biologists won’t be able to survey places where imperiled birds, mammals and fish have been barely hanging on.

A total of 26 wildfires are burning in Oregon, 13 in Washington and 23 in Idaho.

Many are close to towns and are having a noticeable effect on their economies.

The Eagle Creek Fire is just a couple of hundred yards away from Cascade Locks, Oregon. It’s a small Columbia River Gorge town that brings in the bulk of its income during the summer months through tourism.

“I think it’s taken a huge hit because it’s been closed. Especially this happening over Labor Day weekend,” said Cathy Perez, a beer tender in Cascade Locks.

Emergency aid to help victims of Hurricane Harvey now also includes additional money to fight wildfires in Oregon and other western states. 

The U.S. Senate on Thursday added provisions replenishing the U.S. Forest Service's budget for the rest of this fire season. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., said it should amount to more than $100 million in additional aid. He said the money will ensure that the agency won't have to cannibalize programs aimed at making fires less likely to burn in the first place — something he said has frequently happened in the past.

Federal workers say they are trying their best to keep the water flowing and the power going at Bonneville Dam in the Columbia River Gorge despite the wildfires.

Federal and state agencies are investigating a string of wildfires in southeastern Oregon with a potential link to military training exercises.

Seven small fires ignited across state and federal lands on July 11, all attributed to human activity — a suspicious pattern that indicates they could be connected, according to federal officials.

Two wildfires in north-central Washington are being managed as one. Fresh firefighters poured in Thursday to battle the Sutherland Canyon Fire, which grew dramatically overnight. The Spartan Fire near Wenatchee is transitioning to mop-up.

Washington state officials say people in Eastern Washington need to hunker down for a likely dust storm and possible wildfire conditions Tuesday night.

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for wildfire funding was front and center during a hearing Thursday in Washington, D.C.. Northwest leaders are not only questioning possible cuts, they’re also looking for different ways to get ahead during fire season.

Megafires are the kind of wildland fires that grow beyond 100,000 acres. And they are a growing threat across the American West. That’s why one federal scientist in the Northwest is hitting the road with his research.

nature.org

 

When wildfires roared through Washington during the summer and fall of 2014 and 2015, they caught people’s attention, even Democratic state lawmakers from the Puget Sound area such as Rep. Larry Springer.

Washington state and the U.S. Forest Service signed an agreement last week that officials say will improve on-the-ground management of public lands susceptible to wildfire.

Northwest Team Helps With Wildfires in Georgia

Nov 18, 2016

An emergency operations team from the Northwest is working in Georgia this week to fight a few of the many wildfires burning in the smoky Southeast.

The team of about 50 is led by Noel Livingston of the Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch Center. It includes representatives from fire departments and federal land management agencies in Washington, Oregon and Alaska.

Firefighters lit off two prescribed fires Thursday in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest in central Washington state. It’s part of a wider $800,000 state pilot project to prevent huge fires like the Carlton Complex two years ago.

Spokane, Washington, the state’s second largest city, found itself surrounded by flames Monday after high winds and heat Sunday caused the rapid spread of three separate wildfires.

Tuesday’s high winds set two major new fires raging in Washington state. One ripped across grassy eastern Washington flats near Moses Lake and the other up a steep canyon near the Snake River and Pullman.

The Range 12 Fire in southeast Washington has destroyed some of the most sensitive shrub steppe habitat in the nation.

Officials from the Hanford nuclear reservation and Energy Northwest have been meeting with fire managers in southeast Washington state Tuesday. The nearby Range 12 Fire has grown to more than 177,000 acres and high winds are predicted this evening.

Historic forest fires. The Oso landslide. Global warming. These are among the issues in the race for Washington Commissioner of Public Lands. The position oversees state trust lands that generate money for schools.

The commissioner must also navigate a constant tension between the timber industry and environmentalists.

Fireworks aren’t the only thing firefighters have to worry about this Fourth of July weekend. They have a big battle on their hands and have been bringing in extra crews and equipment to posts east of the Cascades.

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.

If you're at the Gorge Amphitheatre in central Washington and there's a large wildfire -- you might want to consider missing the next set of your favorite band. Just on Sunday, a 600-acre wildfire raged about three miles from the main stage where Alabama Shakes and The Cure were playing.

Rowan Moore Gerety / / Northwest Public Radio

The summer of 2015 was the worst wildfire season in Washington state history: three young firefighters died and hundreds of homes burned in blazes that sent more than a million acres up in smoke. For residents of central Washington, a gathering on Monday offered the first chance to come together and ponder the future in a region likely to see more and bigger fires in years to come. 

Tom Banse / / Northwest News Network

Talk about a big drone… Federal wildfire fighting agencies got a close-up look Wednesday at a remotely piloted helicopter that can fly through smoke or darkness to drop water or ferry supplies. 

TRACI WEAVER / NATIONAL PARK SERVICE

Firefighters are gaining the upper hand in containing the Canyon Creek Complex fires. But that’s not much relief to the wildfire’s worst-hit community. So far, 39 homes near John Day, Oregon, have been destroyed, along with around 50 barns, stores and other structures.

“We’ve had fires here before, but it’s always been in the woods never anything to this capacity,” John Day resident Tanni Wenger said.

Firefighting: A Dangerous Profession

Aug 21, 2015
AP Images

Three firefighters died Wednesday in Washington state when flames apparently overtook their vehicle after it crashed. Four other firefighters were hurt.

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

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