Jessica Robinson

Regional Correspondent

Residents of fire-ravaged central Washington say they're in a “state of shock.” Fires destroyed more houses over the weekend and prompted additional evacuation notices.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Gov. Jay Inslee says 1,000 National Guard troops will take a crash course in wildfire fighting so they can be deployed to central Washington fires. A blaze in Okanogan County that the governor calls a “firestorm” has destroyed around 100 homes.

Inslee says the troops are currently in Yakima for annual training.

"We're lucky, because they are on duty and in a place they can be trained. So we are going to bring trainers from the Department of Natural Resources to train them as rapidly as possible to be available — not just now, but for the rest of the summer," he said. 

About 80 people woke up in a Red Cross shelter in central Washington Friday morning after a wildfire forced the town of Pateros to evacuate overnight. Initial reports are that 40 homes and a church have burned in the small town on the Columbia River.

AP Photo

The attorney representing rescued POW Bowe Bergdahl expects the Army sergeant to be interviewed by military investigators within the coming weeks. The probe into how Bergdahl fell into Taliban hands while off-base in 2009 is already underway.

Bergdahl's attorney Eugene Fidell says it's hard to find other cases that serve as precedent for Bergdahl. Fidell, who teaches military justice at Yale Law School, met with Bergdahl in San Antonio for the first time last week after Bergdahl asked Fidell to represent him.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Public health officials in the Northwest say they're seeing gonorrhea infections at levels they haven't seen in years. Three counties in Washington state are now in the midst of an outbreak, and parts of Oregon and Idaho are set to top even last year's high numbers.

And health departments are seeing some unusual trends in the data.

AP Photo

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has retained a lawyer to counsel him during the Army's investigation into the circumstances of his capture.

In the meantime, the former prisoner of war who spent nearly five years as a Taliban captive in Afghanistan, has returned to regular duty at an Army base in Texas. 

Philip Higuera / University of Idaho

Fire season has come alive in the Northwest. On Monday, 20 homes in Idaho's Sun Valley area were briefly under evacuation when a fire broke out in a nearby canyon. And a 5,000-acre fire north of Wenatchee, Washington continues to threaten houses in the area.

Fires can be devastating to people's lives. But according to new research, at least certain types of forests recovery fairly quickly.

Boise National Forest

scathing new report by a group of veteran wildfire experts says too little has been done to improve firefighter safety since an Arizona fire killed 19 firefighters a year ago. 

The group, called Safety Matters, is asking national wildfire managers to implement a series of changes aimed at putting safety above saving property.

Jessica Robinson

A day of planned celebration of Bowe Bergdahl in his Idaho hometown turned out to be a pretty uneventful one. Hailey, Idaho cancelled Saturday’s event after the city received threats.

Jessica Robinson

Abortion services providers say the Supreme Court’s ruling on a 35-foot “buffer zones”around Massachusetts clinics won’t have much effect in the Northwest.

Neither Washington, Oregon nor Idaho has the kind of law that the high court deemed unconstitutional. Clinics in the region rely on other measures aimed at protesters.

U.S. Census Bureau

New federal population figures released Thursday show the nation’s youngest county is in the Northwest, and not in an urban area. Madison County, Idaho is in the midst of eastern Idaho's potato country.

To give a comparison, the median age of the U.S. is almost 38 years old. The median age of Madison County is 23. That’s the lowest in the country and there’s one big reason: Madison County is home to Brigham Young University-Idaho.

One candidate for an eastern Washington congressional seat has hit on a way to appeal to Second Amendment advocates and increase the names on his campaign mailing list: He’s offering voters a chance to win a gun.

People who give Clint Didier their name and email address will be entered to win one of three firearms. The Republican candidate for Doc Hastings’ seat is offering up two handguns and a semi-automatic rifle. Didier calls it the Freedom Fighters Gun Giveaway.

Jessica Robinson

Adoptions are usually private affairs, sealed forever in court documents and known only to the families involved. But a recent decision by Idaho's Department of Health and Welfare exploded into the public sphere.

Courtesy of the Bergdahl family.

There has been no shortage of strong opinions about the release of the former prisoner of war Bowe Bergdahl — except among Idaho's congressional delegation.

The two senators and two congressmen from Bergdahl's home state have largely avoided the national fray. 

AP Photo

A county commissioner in Blaine County, Idaho, has asked both members of the media and critics of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl to give the soldier’s hometown some space. The commissioner says the town of Hailey is tired of being the target of people’s “misguided rage” over the former POW.

Blaine County Commissioner Larry Shoen says not only the Bergdahl family but some community members have received personal threats.

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