Emily Schwing

Boise State Public Radio

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife said it has killed six wolves in the Profanity Peak Pack. Members of that pack are blamed for at least 12 cattle kills in the northeastern part of the state.

Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife plans to kill an entire wolf pack in the northeast corner of the state. The decision comes after at least 12 cattle were killed in the area.

An interagency incident management team has taken over the Hart Fire burning on the Spokane Indian Reservation. The wildfire spread rapidly onto tribal land, but response hasn’t kept up with the pace of the blaze. Strong winds spread the fire fast enough to force an initial attack crew to flee.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee Tuesday declared a state of emergency in 20 counties mostly on the dry side of the Cascades, an area vulnerable to wildfire. Resources are stretched thin in the battle to save homes and property.

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.

Washington gubernatorial candidates touched on the topic of oil trains during their first debate of the season in Spokane Wednesday.

Washington Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee and Republican challenger Bill Bryant sparred in Spokane Wednesday in the first debate of the gubernatorial campaign.

A measure that was added to the November ballot less than a month ago would have imposed fines on rail cars transporting fossil fuels through the heart of Spokane. On Monday night, the city council opted to withdraw it.

Two weeks ago, the Spokane City Council approved a ballot measure that garnered national attention. It would impose a fine on every rail car that transports coal or oil through the heart of the city.  Monday the council could consider its withdrawal.

Oil that spilled from a derailed train in the Columbia River Gorge in June contaminated nearby groundwater. Starting in the next week, Union Pacific Railroad will be working with Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality to clean it up.

Over orchards and vineyards across the Northwest, European starlings are eating fruit to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. And when the traditional methods of keeping the birds away -- like scarecrows, pyrotechnics and netting -- don’t work, it’s time to call Falcon Force.

Spokane’s City Council Monday voted on a November ballot initiative that would make the shipment of oil or coal by rail through the city a civil infraction. If it passes, every rail car carrying oil or uncovered coal will generate a $261 fine.

Over the weekend, hundreds of dancers joined traditional drummers at the Northwest’s largest powwow in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Emily Schwing shares this audio postcard and video from the weekend's events.


A Native American caucus is in Philadelphia this week to speak for the priorities of Northwest tribes at the Democratic National Convention.

After a year-long hiatus, the largest powwow in the Northwest has returned to traditional grounds of the Coeur D’Alene Tribe. Julyamsh was cancelled last year after the state of Idaho legalized horse-racing machines at a park where the celebration used to be held.

The start of this year’s cherry season in May is the earliest growers have ever seen in Central Washington. Yakima Valley grower Mark Roy said the harvest usually runs from June 20 to July 20.

There’s been a lot of political buzz this week at the mid-year conference of the National Congress of American Indians in Spokane. Tribal leaders say the next president must understand the importance of tribal sovereignty.

The condition of watersheds in Washington state continues to decline. That’s according to the the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission. The organization delivered the news to the National Congress of American Indians Wednesday.

Every five years, a team convenes to evaluate long-term water supply and demand for the Columbia River Basin. For eastern Washington, the water supply will increase, but not when demand is highest.

The limbs of Central Washington’s cherry trees are heavy with ripe fruit. In Moxee, crews are scrambling to bring in a harvest while the skies are clear and the weather is dry.

U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has announced a visit with the Spokane Indian Tribe Thursday. The visit comes as Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has signed off on a plan that includes a casino.

"Vegan" rainbow trout will be the hot topic at this year’s International Symposium on Fish Nutrition and Feeding in Sun Valley, Idaho.

In Paris Monday, an auction of 400 artifacts included a pair of leggings that could have been worn by a woman from the Nez Perce Tribe of northern Idaho in the 1890s. Questions about whether many of the items had been acquired legally nearly halted the auction.

Dozens of people drove hundreds of miles from Wyoming, Montana and Idaho to Spokane Thursday to weigh in on a proposed coal export terminal. The terminal would sit along the Columbia River in Longview. But the permitting agencies want input from inland cities along the train tracks.

Evan Leeson / Flickr

Idaho isn’t the only state in the west that’s been dry for more than a month. Most of the Rocky Mountain region is experiencing lower than normal snowfalls and higher than normal temperatures.

The general lack of winter forced the cancelation of Idaho’s State Special Olympics Winter Games. Boise’s local ski area, Bogus Basin, isn’t even open yet. In 69 years, Bogus Basin has never seen such a snowless season.

Idaho is the first state outside of Alaska to regulate a trapping season for wolves. It came after the animal was removed from the Endangered Species List this spring. Trappers who are hoping to snare a gray wolf are required to take a mandatory class.

If anyone can tell you how challenging it is to trap a wolf, it’s Rick Williamson.

Williamson is a carnivore biologist with Idaho’s Department of Fish and Game. He recently retired from his position as a wolf management specialist with the federal government. He’s is teaching a class of about 25 people how to set a foothold trap.