Washington wildfires

4:39 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Wildfire Awareness Week begins with 2 blazes burning in W. Wash.

The Dog Mountain fire is seen burning on Monday, May 6, 2013.
Washington State Department of Transportation

Wildfire Awareness Week began Monday with record-breaking heat and crews working to contain two blazes that broke out over the weekend in Western Washington.

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Taylor Bridge Fire
11:04 am
Mon December 17, 2012

Investigators name cause of Taylor Bridge Fire near Cle Elum

This photo combination shows a house on a hillside above Bettas Road near Cle Elum, Wash., surrounded by flames on Aug. 14, top, and on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012, bottom. the house survived the fire because of the defensible space around the structure.

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The Department of Natural Resources has concluded that an August wildfire that caused $11 million damage was caused by sparks from welding or cutting work on a bridge southeast of Cle Elum.

The department on Monday released the results of its investigation into the Taylor Bridge Fire that destroyed 61 homes and blackened 36 square miles. 

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11:32 am
Thu October 4, 2012

Wildfire danger moves to western Washington, Oregon

Dry east winds are bringing a higher risk of wildfires to most of western Washington and western Oregon.

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11:33 pm
Sun September 30, 2012

After NW fires: Bring on the bugs

Horntail or wood wasps are drawn to burned forests. They deposit their eggs in downed trees. Photo courtesy of USDA

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 4:40 pm

Wildfires have already scorched more than one million acres across the Northwest this year. It may take years before the signs of the burns are no longer visible. But charred Northwest forests are already a-buzz with new life.

Burned forests are not quiet places.

“It’s very lively in the forest immediately after a fire," says Connie Mehmel. "Very lively. And a lot of that liveliness is insects.”

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Washington Wildfires
10:26 am
Fri September 28, 2012

Northwest fire season overlapping with hunting season

Wildfires have closed some prime hunting grounds in the Northwest. Photo by Dennis Stern/ USFS Gila National Forest

Originally published on Thu September 27, 2012 4:54 pm

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.

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Washington Wildfires
5:25 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

Firefighters gain upper hand on Northwest fires

Successful burnout operations reduced the ground fuels, but maintained larger trees in near Sisters, Ore.. Photo by Tom Iraci via InciWeb

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 4:19 pm

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.

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Washington Wildfires
11:26 am
Tue September 25, 2012

Surrounded by wildfires, Northwest schools try to keep smoke out

Smoke is so heavy in central Washington, health officials are urging residents to keep their doors and windows closed and stay inside.Photo by Jeff Penman via InciWeb

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 8:30 am

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.

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Washington wildfires
8:33 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

Smoke creating vicious cycle in Northwest skies

Smoke from wildfires can create some spectacular sunsets -- like this one near Boise, Idaho. Photo by Jim Larson via Flickr

Originally published on Mon September 24, 2012 3:56 pm

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.

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Washington Wildfires
2:12 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

New evacuations as Table Mountain wildfire triples in size

This map from NPR shows current large wildfires and forecast burning conditions in the region.

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

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Washington Wildfires
9:16 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Washington wildfire smoke closes schools

Heavy smoke from multiple wildfires continues to fill valleys on the east slopes of the Cascades. Photo by by Vladimir Steblina/ USDA Forest Service

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 5:11 pm

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.

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washington wildfires
2:03 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Firefighter dies while combating Washington wildfire

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.

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washington wildfires
12:33 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Video: Air-to-ground firefighting footage near Wenatchee

Screen grab from the Washington National Guard video showing its air-to-ground firefighting efforts near Wenatchee.

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.

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Washington wildfires
10:07 am
Mon September 17, 2012

Fires continue to burn in central Washington

Cows stand in a pasture as a wildfire burns down a hillside behind last week near Cle Elum, Wash.
The Associated Press

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

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6:54 am
Mon September 17, 2012

Northwest wildfires not all bad for local economies

The influx of firefighters to a wildfire can offset economic damage to tourism and natural resources. Photo courtesy US Forest Service

Originally published on Fri September 14, 2012 4:45 pm

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.

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washington wildfires
10:48 am
Fri September 14, 2012

National Guard deploys 2 helicopters to Wenatchee wildfire

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

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