Wildfires

Satellite image courtesy National Weather Service

The streak of dry weather in much of the Northwest is about to come to a soggy end. A weather system fueled by subtropical moisture is bearing down on the region.

The Forest Service and BLM say 2012 has been the worst fire season in the last 100 years. Oregon and Washington have reported fewer fires than average, but a record number of acres burned.

Northwest Fire Season Stretches Tribal Resources Thin

Oct 4, 2012
Inciweb

Fire crews are pushing back against a new blaze near Omak, Wash. The 5,000-acre wildfire on the Colville Indian Reservation has already destroyed two homes and forced other residents to evacuate. The Northwest’s busy fire season has taken a toll on tribal lands this year.

Vince Patton / OPB

About a dozen wildfires are still burning in the Northwest, keeping the air hazy and unhealthy. But experts predict few, if any, long-term health effects. Correspondent Anna King reports.

Northwest Fire Season Overlapping With Hunting Season

Sep 27, 2012
Dennis Stern / USFS Gila National Forest

Evacuation notices around the Northwest have subsided as fire crews beat back the threat of wildfire to homes and subdivisions.

Central Wash. Fire Crews Begin To Head Home

Sep 26, 2012
Michael Pennavaria / InciWeb

Crews are beginning to head home from the biggest wildfires that have been burning for the last two weeks in central Washington. But there are still more than 4,000 people working to contain the blazes on the east slopes of the Washington Cascades. That’s down about 800 from the peak workforce last weekend.

Firefighters Gain Upper Hand On Northwest Fires

Sep 25, 2012
Tom Iraci / InciWeb

Firefighters are making progress on several massive blazes around the Northwest. In Oregon, the Pole Creek Fire near Sisters is around 70 percent contained. Crews in central Washington are getting the upper hand on the 53,000-acre Wenatchee Complex, where another blaze flared up yesterday. And in Idaho fire bosses report minimal activity at the Mustang Complex along the Idaho-Montana border.

Surrounded By Wildfires, Schools Try To Keep Smoke Out

Sep 24, 2012

Wildfire smoke is becoming the “new normal” for some parts of the Northwest. In central Washington, health officials are urging residents to keep their doors and windows closed and stay inside. Bad air has forced at least one school district to take some unusual measures to keep class in session.

Smoke Creating Vicious Cycle In Northwest Skies

Sep 24, 2012
Jim Larson / Flickr

The fight against numerous large fires in central Washington is turning the corner. Since the weekend, fire bosses have been able to release nearly 400 firefighters from the blazes near Wenatchee. But forecasters say it may be a while before the Inland Northwest sees clear, blue skies again.

Kyle Miller / Red Cross

Washington state's Department of Health has shipped more than 20,000 face masks to central Washington towns blanketed by wildfire smoke. Air pollution monitors in Wenatchee, Ellensburg and nearby towns are consistently showing the air is hazardous to breathe.

Vladimir Steblina / USDA Forest Service

In central Washington, fire commanders report progress securing fire lines and limiting the spread of wildfires in the direction of threatened homes. But smoky air continues to stress thousands of people in Wenatchee, Cashmere, Entiat and Chelan.

Vladimir Steblina / USDA Forest Service

The wildfire situation in central Washington continues to worsen. A complex of lightning-sparked fires north of Ellensburg has grown to more than 30,000 acres. Mandatory evacuations are in place near Liberty, Wash., along Highway 97.

Vladimir Steblina / USDA Forest Service

A tree faller assigned to a wildfire burning north of Wenatchee has died. The U.S. Forest Service says the man became ill Monday afternoon from an unspecified cause. He was transported to a hospital where he later died.

Fires Not All Bad For Local Economies

Sep 14, 2012
U.S. Forest Service

Crews continue to make progress on several wildfires in central Washington. State health officials say the air is smoky enough around Wenatchee to be unhealthy for people with sensitive respiratory systems.

Fire Officials Look To Fall Weather For Respite

Sep 14, 2012
Salmon-Challis National Forest

Idaho’s forest fires have claimed 1.5 million acres this year, from more than 1,000 separate fires.

Weather Helps Central Wash. Fire, But Not For Long

Sep 13, 2012
Wenatchee Valley Rappellers

Smoke in central Washington is so thick schools sent kids home early in the town of Cashmere. They’ll start two hours later Friday.

Smoke Continues To Create Haze In Central Washington

Sep 13, 2012
National Weather Service

Smoke continues to create a haze over central Washington. Several wildfires are burning near Wenatchee. Correspondent Jessica Robinson reports from the scene.

Residents Report Central Washington Smells Like Smoke

Sep 13, 2012
Photo by user Teresia / Flickr

The smell of smoke hangs in the air across much of central Washington Wednesday. At least four significant wildfires are burning around Wenatchee, making the skies hazy. Vicky Cibcki works at the Anjou Bakery near the town of Cashmere.

Central Wasington Communities Cope With Smoke

Sep 12, 2012

The smell of smoke hangs in the air across much of central Washington Wednesday. At least four significant wildfires are burning around Wenatchee, making the skies hazy.

The Wenatchee Complex wildfire is sending a thick blanket of smoke through the Central Washington town. Some residents of Wenatchee and nearby communities have fled their homes. Several fires have combined to make a more than 1,000-acre blaze in the hills near town. A lightning storm Saturday night started more than two dozen fires in the area; many are still burning.

It's a hot dry day for fire fighters battling blazes along Route 141 in Washington, just north of White Salmon. Forty-five homes have been evacuated since Wednesday afternoon. Other homeowners have been notified they need to be ready to evacuate on short notice.

U.S. Forest Service

Two hunters who were reported missing during a wildfire in eastern Oregon have been located and are safe. But Grant County Sheriff Glenn Palmer says there's new concern about a pair of hikers who are thought to be in the vicinity of the Parish Cabin Fire.

Fire Keeps Idahoans From Favorite Summer Getaway Spot

Aug 24, 2012
Boise National Forest

A cold front moving through the Northwest is expected to do more harm than good for fire crews battling massive blazes in southern Idaho. Forecasters predict very low humidity on top of winds that could reach 30 miles per hour.

Burned Trees Pose Risk To Returning Evacuees

Aug 24, 2012
Liz Banse

Property owners in central Washington are confronting a common issue after wildfires: safety around charred trees.

Photo by Courtney Flatt / Northwest News Network

There’s been some speculation over the years as to how wind farms would hold up in the event of a large wildfire. Now, the verdict is in. From EarthFix, Courtney Flatt reports a central Washington wind farm was not damaged.

Scorched earth surrounds wind turbines just outside Cle Elum, Washington. A fire that drove through over the last week and a half destroyed more than 50 houses and has burned an estimated 23,000 acres. It did not burn 48 wind turbines.

Operations manager Eric Melbardis says gravel landscaping protected the turbines from the fire.

Taylor Bridge Wildfire Containment Delayed

Aug 23, 2012

Fire officials in central Washington are pushing back their timeline to fully contain the Taylor Bridge fire. They’d hoped to have the fire 100 percent contained by tomorrow. But now officials say early next week is more likely.

Last Stretch Of Taylor Bridge Fire Hard To Contain

Aug 22, 2012
Jessica Payne / Washington Department of Natural Resources

Fire crews in central Washington say they’ll need a couple more days to contain the last 10 percent of the Taylor Bridge fire. The blaze near Cle Elum, Wash., is 90 percent surrounded by fire lines, with full containment expected by Friday. The last open stretch of wildfire is in especially steep, rocky terrain.

Jessica Payne / Washington Department of Natural Resources

Firefighters in Central Washington are contending with heavy winds today as they try to get control of the Taylor Bridge fire near Cle Elum. Gusts of up to 30 miles per hour have been testing the fire lines. So far the blaze has scorched more than 23,000 acres, and crews have it 57 percent contained. More than 1,000 people are working to put out the blaze.

Crews Prepare As Fire Creeps Toward Idaho Town

Aug 21, 2012
Zane Brown / inciweb.org

Fire crews in southern Idaho are now at a standoff with a fire that’s surrounded the resort town of Featherville. It’s been clear for days that the town’s businesses and summer homes are in the path of the 90,000 acre Trinity Ridge Fire east of Boise. But fire managers say they have to wait for the blaze to creep to lower ground before crews can fight it head-on.

Jessica Payne / Washington Department of Natural Resources

Fire crews expect to contain the Taylor Bridge Fire in central Washington by Tuesday afternoon. Crews are now working in steep terrain on the northwest side of the blaze.

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