wildfires

Weather with Cliff Mass
11:06 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Summer Is Back! Dry Weather And Warm, Sunny Skies In the Forecast

The last week of July is historically the driest week of the year. And despite record-breaking rain last week, the forecast for the days ahead fits the bill for this time of year, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

“We’re going to have sun, warmth and virtually no precipitation,” Mass said of the week ahead.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
10:02 am
Fri July 18, 2014

On Tap: Cooler, Cloudier Weekend With Chance Of Showers

The summer sun sets over Elliott Bay.
Tim Durkan

If you love sunshine, Friday’s the day to get out and enjoy it.

The cooling trend we’ve been experiencing will continue this weekend and even bring some rain with it, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

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Wildfire Season
1:00 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Start A Wildfire? Expect A Bill

File photo of 2013's Little Queens Fire near the town of Atlanta, Idaho.
Inciweb

Whether it’s due to negligence or arson, thousands of wildfires each year are caused by humans. And the person or business who starts a fire can expect a bill.

Jeff Bonebrake is with the Oregon Department of Forestry. It's his job to investigate how a fire started. Once that’s pinned down, he figures out who pays and how much. He says the bulk of the charges are for firefighter salaries and equipment use.

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Wildfire Season
9:43 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Study Finds Forests Recover 'Quickly' After Fire — In Tree Years, Anyway

Odessa Lake and subalpine forest in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.
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.

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Wildfire Safety
5:00 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Report Says Lack Of Maps, Leadership Puts Firefighters In Harm's Way

This file photo shows fire crews working the Trinity Ridge Fire near Featherville, Idaho in 2012.
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.

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Wildfire Season
3:42 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

Study Finds ‘Firewise’ Homes Don’t Reduce Wildfire Costs

File image
Master Sgt. Jeremy Lock U.S. Air Force

The federal government is already predicting this fire season will push firefighting resources almost $500 million over budget.

The cost of fighting wildfires has been steadily rising over the last two decades. And now, a new study finds a prevention tactic for fireproofing homes isn’t helping to bring those costs down.

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wildfire
11:41 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Fire Near Leavenworth 10 Percent Contained

A wildfire burning near Leavenworth is about 10 percent contained, but firefighters are keeping a wary eye on temperatures expected to climb into the 90s.

The Eagle fire covers 1,186 acres and is located about 5 miles northwest of the Bavarian-themed village of Leavenworth.

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wildfire
10:14 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Wildfire Burning Near Leavenworth Triples in Size

U.S. Forest Service

A ridge-top wildfire burning northeast of Leavenworth, Wash., tripled in size overnight and residents of 30 nearby homes have been told to evacuate. Residents of another 35 homes have been told to prepare to evacuate.

Fire spokeswoman Robin DeMario said on Wednesday morning the Eagle Fire has grown to more than 2 square miles, because of overnight fire activity and more accurate mapping.

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fighting wildfires
5:00 am
Mon August 19, 2013

Fire Managers Increasingly Turning to Private Fire Crews

With wildfires still raging across the Northwest, fire managers are turning to private firefighting crews in increasing numbers. One private industry group says contractors are responsible for a surprising 40 percent of firefighters on the ground in the region.

Both the U.S. Forest Service and the Oregon Department of Forestry said that figure sounds about right. But the shift didn't happen overnight; the Oregon Department of Forestry's Rod Nichols says the change started in the 80s.

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climate change
9:01 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Scientists Look For Climate Change Clues in Wildfire Soot

You may know that on a hot, sunny day, it’s better to be sitting in a white car than a black one. White reflects sunlight, while black absorbs more of it.

The same concept applies to researchers trying to figure out what effect wildfires have on climate change. And part of the answer is whether the smoke particles are dark or reflective.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
9:38 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Showers Will Melt Away, but Lightning Could Spark More Fires

Washington State Department of Natural Resources Flickr

Listen to Cliff Mass' weekend forecast, plus his explanation of how weather such as lightning, wind and our record-dry July have caused and fueled recent wildfires.

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.

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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.
AP

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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ranching
11:36 pm
Sun September 30, 2012

Drought, wildfires force ranchers to look for efficiencies

University of Idaho Professor Rod Hill and part of the university's purebred herd. Photo by Tom Banse

Originally published on Mon October 8, 2012 2:33 pm

The people who raise cattle destined to become steak or hamburger on your dinner plate are feeling the pinch. Wildfires this summer have scorched more than a million acres of Northwest rangeland. In addition, the Midwest drought is driving up feed costs across the board.

Now ranches and feedlots are looking to cut their feed costs in the short term... And longer term, have an eye on making the cattle themselves more efficient.

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Wildfires
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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wildfires
4:34 pm
Wed August 29, 2012

Campers evacuated as wildfires burn across Northwest

A view of the Cabin Parish fire in eastern Oregon. Photo by USFS

Originally published on Wed August 29, 2012 4:18 pm

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.

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