firefighters

Courtesy of the Ransdell family.

These days, you can often find contract firefighters on the front lines. They’re usually indistinguishable from government firefighters.

But a recent court ruling has made it clear: if they’re killed in the line of duty, their families are not eligible for federal survivor benefits.

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.

Washington State Department of Natural Resources / Flickr

Drizzly skies are expected to yield to warmer temperatures and some sun this weekend, because of an upper level trough over us and that’s causing upward motion and clouds, says Cliff Mass, KPLU’s weather expert.

The loss of 19 firefighters in Arizona is sending a chill through the firefighting community in the Northwest. Fire season is about to begin here, ushered in by a heat wave sweeping the region.

Word spread fast among wildland firefighters in the Northwest.

“We are saddened, but (must) honor our fallen by continuing with the job at hand,” wrote the Hotshot crew out of Union, Ore., on Facebook.

FEDERAL WAY, Wash. — A pike pole is a long pole used by firefighters, and a memorial version of the pole carries the names of Washington firefighters who died in the line of duty.

Lindsay Lowe / KPLU

More than 150 black firefighters marched through downtown Seattle on Wednesday to honor their colleagues who died in service.

The march was organized by Seattle's chapter of the International Association of Black Professional Firefighters. After the march, they held a memorial for fallen service members at Seattle’s First United Methodist church.

UW / Marc Beaudreau

The drug-resistant strain of staph infection MRSA is known to be a problem for many hospitals.  A pioneering study from the University of Washington shows that it's also resilient enough to spread from medic units all the way into the living quarters of firefighters.