Washington wildfires

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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Economy
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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Washington Wildfires
11:13 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Weather helps central Washington fire, but not for long

Smoke from the Wenatchee Complex Fire pours into the sky around Wenatchee, Washington. Photo by Wenatchee Valley Rappellers

Originally published on Thu September 13, 2012 4:45 pm

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.

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Washington Wildfires
5:19 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Smoke continues to create haze in central Washington

This infrared satellite image shows smoke rising from several fires in central Washington. Image by National Weather Service

Originally published on Thu September 13, 2012 3:37 pm

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.

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Washington wildfires
9:27 am
Thu September 13, 2012

E. Wash. fire smoke drifts west, prompts 911 calls

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.

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Washington Wildfires
4:06 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

Smoke, haze cover central Washington

Smoke billows from a lightning-sparked fire in the hills outside Wenatchee, Wash. Photo by teresia via Flickr

Originally published on Wed September 12, 2012 3:15 pm

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.

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Washington wildfires
4:01 pm
Mon September 10, 2012

No rain makes it to Washington wildfires

Flames burn at one end of a wildfire today near Wenatchee.
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.

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