Washington wildfires

Northwest fire season overlapping with hunting season

Sep 28, 2012

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

Officials have removed an alert near Sisters, Oregon, where the Pole Creek Fire is 80 percent contained. In Idaho, the Idaho County Sheriff lifted an evacuation order near the McGuire Complex in the Nez Perce National Forest. And crews at the Wenatchee Complex in Washington have been reduced by half since last weekend.

Firefighters gain upper hand on Northwest fires

Sep 25, 2012

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.

Wenatchee graphic designer Dennis Weddle made t-shirts commemorating the 2012 fires for some local firefighters. To his surprise, members of the public also wanted them.

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.

The town of Cashmere is at the geographic center of Washington –- and about 8 miles from one of the state’s largest wildfires. Cashmere schools closed last week due to hazardous air, both inside and outside classrooms.

Now, school is back in session. With a few modifications.

Smoke creating vicious cycle in Northwest skies

Sep 24, 2012

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.

U.S. Forest Service researcher Miriam Rorig says smoke projections show poor conditions east of the Cascades hanging on through the week and spreading into north Idaho.

New evacuations as Table Mountain wildfire triples in size

Sep 20, 2012
NPR / <a href="http://apps.npr.org/fire-forecast/">See the entire map</a>

NBC News reports that new evacuations came Thursday as eight-inch chunks of burning bark were reported to have fallen in Mission Ridge. Those chunks were coming from an explosive fire inside the Table Mountain Complex some six miles away, a fire incident spokesman said.

The Table Mountain Complex of wildfires in Chelan and Kittitas counties has tripled in size to more than 47 square miles

Washington wildfire smoke closes schools

Sep 18, 2012

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.

Heavy smoke from multiple wildfires continues to fill valleys on the east slopes of the Cascades. Pollution monitors again rated the air "hazardous" to breathe in Wenatchee and Ellensburg Tuesday.

WENATCHEE, Wash. – A firefighter assigned to a wildfire burning north of Wenatchee has died.

Agencies responding to the blaze say the firefighter became ill Monday afternoon and was transported to a nearby hospital where he died.

This 3-minute video (below) provides a unique perspective of the wildfire mission from a Washington Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter as it scoops up water with its 660 gallon bucket, flies through smoke-filled skies and drops it on the flames below, according to a press release from the Washington National Guard.

The Associated Press

SPOKANE, Wash. – Wildfires continued to burn in central Washington, aided by unseasonably warm temperatures.

Northwest wildfires not all bad for local economies

Sep 17, 2012

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.

Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Oregon have been looking into the economic impact of large wildfires. Their findings indicated that there can actually be an upside to local economies.

WENATCHEE, Wash. — The Washington National Guard has deployed two helicopters equipped with water buckets to help crews battling a wildfire near Wenatchee.

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

About 1,000 firefighters are at work trying to contain several blazes near Wenatchee. At least 360 people had to evacuate.

Fire information spokesman Mick Meuller says cooler temperatures are helping to keep humidity levels up. But he doesn’t expect that to last.

Smoke continues to create haze in central Washington

Sep 13, 2012

Smoke continues to create a haze over central Washington. Several wildfires are burning near Wenatchee.

I’m standing at the top of Blewett Pass, west of Wenatchee on Highway 97. The elevation here is about 4,100 feet. But the air here is just clogged with this peach colored smoke.

Just looking off into the forest, you can barely see more than a 100 yards in the distance. And the trees just sort of fade away into the smoke.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington state officials say smoke from dozens of lightning-sparked wildfires is not only blanketing much of central and eastern Washington, it's drifting into parts of western Washington, where alarmed residents are calling 911.

A smoky haze is covering much of central Washington Wednesday. At least four significant wildfires are burning around Wenatchee.

About 150 homes have been evacuated there, along with another 40 near the town of Cashmere. Fire managers have told even more people to be ready to flee.

The Associated Press

WENATCHEE, Wash. — Crews in central Washington are working to protect homes wildfires as a destructive fire season stretches into September with no relief expected from the weather anytime soon.

WHITE SALMON, Wash. — Fire crews plan to work through the night to construct containment lines around two fast-moving new wildfires threatening dozens of homes in south-central Washington along the Columbia River Gorge.

Campers evacuated as wildfires burn across Northwest

Aug 29, 2012

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.

Palmer says the hikers are from Portland and aren't thought to be in immediate danger. But he says they could end up stranded if the fire continues to spread.

CLE ELUM, Wash. – Firefighting officials say a stubborn wildfire that destroyed dozens of homes in central Washington has been completely contained after a two-week fight.

Jessica Payne / Washington DNR

Fire crews in central Washington say they’ll need a couple more days to contain the last 10 percent of the Taylor Bridge fire.

Zane Brown/inciweb.org

High winds are challenging crews battling the Taylor Bridge fire in central Washington; and crews fighting the Trinity Ridge fire in Idaho are in a standoff with that fire, waiting for it to reach lower ground.

The Associated Press

CLE ELUM, Wash. – Firefighters are hoping to reach containment Tuesday on a fire that has burned dozens of homes east of the Cascades.

CLE ELUM, Wash. — Many of the residents who had to run for their lives from a central Washington wildfire are being allowed back into the evacuation area Friday to see whether their homes are still standing. A spokesman at the fire command center in Cle Elum, Mick Mueller, says residents are returning to the south and east side of the 35-square mile burn zone. He says utility crews also are working to restore power in the area, even as firefighters continue to put out hot spots.

Hot spell heats up Northwest wildfire activity

Aug 7, 2012

Prolonged hot and dry weather is amping up wildfire activity across the inland Northwest. At the Northwest Interagency Fire Coordination Center in Portland, spokeswoman Carol Connolly says here in early August we're at a turning point in fire season.

"Typically, we'll see these grass fires in early summer. We're right on target for the kind of crossover. We still see those range and grass fires, but I think we're going to start seeing those timber fires as we continue to get more lightning activity."

Anna King / Northwest News Network

GOLDENDALE, Wash. – This year’s Northwest fire season has been relatively calm. But that’s little solace to the small mountain town of Goldendale, Wash. Residents there are just starting to rebuild and cleanup after a wildfire obliterated about 20 structures earlier this month .

GOLDENDALE, Wash. — Fire crews are estimating a wildfire north of Goldendale is 80 percent contained.

GOLDENDALE, Wash. — Firefighters continued work to control a wildfire that has burned more than 100 structures north of Goldendale.

Fire incident spokesman Chuck Turley says the blaze is 70 percent contained.

Inciweb.org

Fire crews battling the Monastery Fire north of Goldendale, Wash., say they're gaining the upper hand. All they need now are a few more windless days.

The 42-hundred acre fire has already consumed 24 homes in the area. Crews say they're halfway to containing the blaze. More than a thousand firefighters have been called out to the incident.

Associated Press

GOLDENDALE, Wash. — More firefighters are being dispatched to the wildfire that has burned nine homes near Satus Pass in south central Washington.

Department of Natural Resources spokesman Chuck Turley says the number of firefighters will double by Saturday to 600 as the state mobilizes resources.

Associated Press

GOLDENDALE, Wash. — State officials say nine homes and 10 outbuildings have burnt in a wildfire near Status Pass in south central Washington.

Pages