Wildfires

Bureau of Land Management / Flickr

The wildfire season is off a slow start in the U.S. and in the Northwest. Numbers from fire mangers show total fires and the number of acres burned are well below the 10 year average.

The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise says so far this year the number of fires is down by nearly 30 percent, and the number of acres burned is down by about 60 percent compared to the 10 year average.

Washington Incident Management Team #2 / InciWeb

Hot and dry conditions are expected to create above-normal wildfire conditions in parts of the Northwest this summer. While relatively few people will have to flee the flames, many more will experience a side effect of the fires: thick, acrid smoke.

Washington Incident Management Team #2 / InciWeb

Workers in the Tri-Cities, Wash. area got notice Wednesday of tinder-dry conditions at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation and were advised to practice fire safety at work and at home. It’s about four weeks ahead of schedule for these types of fire-weather alerts and a sign of a long, hot summer ahead.

Famartin / Wikimedia

The study is by the think tank Headwaters Economics, based in Bozeman, Mont. Researchers looked at what are known as “firewise” communities. Rural homeowners are encouraged to do things like clear brush around their homes and replace wood shingles with a metal roof.

InciWeb

It may be hard to believe, but wildfire season officially starts on April 15 in Washington state. In Oregon and Idaho, there's a rolling start to fire precaution rules depending on local conditions. 

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Fighting wildfires would be funded more like hurricane and flood response under a proposal out of the Northwest that won President Obama's endorsement . The plan is being advanced by a bipartisan team of Oregon and Idaho senators in reaction to the growing cost of massive wildfires.

Wildfire season is not over yet, despite the widespread rains of the last couple weeks.

Jessica Robinson

Not everyone fled Sun Valley, Idaho, when a huge wildfire threatened the resort area. Many locals remained in the surrounding communities and kept the stores, restaurants and gas stations open. Now, firefighters are gaining the upper hand. The smoke is clearing. But without the return of vacationers, many locals worry the real disaster is economic – and that one is just beginning.

Beaver Creek Update: Nearly 10,000 Homes On Evacuation Alert

Aug 19, 2013

More resources continue to pour into Idaho’s central mountains to fight a growing wildfire that has now consumed more than 150 square miles, or roughly the size of Detroit.

You may know that on a hot, sunny day it’s better to be sitting in a white car than a black one. White reflects sunlight, while black absorbs more of it.

The same concept applies to researchers trying to figure out what effect wildfires have on climate change. And part of the answer is whether the smoke particles are dark or reflective.

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