wildfires

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.

Read more
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.”

Read more
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.

Read more
The Two-Way
8:57 am
Tue July 10, 2012

Wildfire in southern Idaho is growing quickly

The view from above: A satellite image of Idaho and western Montana, taken Monday and posted by the USDA Forest Services's Active Fire Mapping website, showing smoke and clouds.
USDA Forest Service

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 4:30 am

Though firefighters have "gained ground on a number of wildfires across the West," they're having trouble in southern Idaho, The Associated Press reports.

There, winds have "fanned a fast-moving blaze across nearly 300 square miles of sagebrush and dry grass," the wire service says. The fire began Saturday. It was apparently sparked by a lightning strike.

Read more
News
10:49 am
Wed July 4, 2012

Northwest firefighters play waiting game amid cooler weather

A helitack crew employed by the state of Washington attended a training in Ellensberg last month. Photo courtesy of Washington Department of Natural Resources

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 5:00 pm

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano visited Boise Tuesday . They toured the center that coordinates national wildfire response efforts.

Some firefighters from the Northwest have been sent to blazes across the West. But the firefighters still at home are playing the waiting game.

In Colorado, crews are approaching two weeks of battling the Waldo Canyon Fire. Meanwhile, the Northwest has been so wet, some fire managers dubbed last month “June-uary.”

Read more
wildfires
2:08 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

Guns blamed for starting wildfires in parched West

Fires like the Waldo Canyon wildfire, photographed on Tuesday, are being started by guns, say fire officials.
The Associated Press

SPOKANE, Wash. — In the tinder-dry West, campfires, fireworks and even lit cigarettes are banned across public lands. Another fire-starting culprit, however, remains free of most restrictions: guns.

Read more
Around the Nation
4:01 pm
Sun July 1, 2012

Firefighting planes battle wildfires and old age

A firefighting air tanker drops fire retardant on the Tea Fire in Montecito, Calif. in 2008. In 2000, The U.S. Forest Service had contracts for 43 air tankers. These days, that number is only nine.
David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Sun July 1, 2012 9:05 am

As wildfires continue to burn in the West, the U.S. Forest Service is going to battle this summer with fewer air tankers. The number of planes that drop retardant on fires has shrunk significantly over the past 12 years.

In Boise, Idaho, the shortage of air tankers has led to some unexpected repurposing of aircraft.

"This particular aircraft was used as Air Force One at one point," explains pilot Lyle Ehalt, standing next to his shiny white-and-green tanker at the Boise Airport.

Read more
wildfires
5:46 am
Wed June 27, 2012

'Epic' Wildfire Sends Tens Of Thousands Scrambling For Safety In Colorado

Flames from the Waldo Canyon Fire glowed on the western side of Colorado Springs, Colo., Tuesday night.
Bryan Oller AP

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 3:17 pm

"A firestorm of epic proportions" continues to threaten Colorado Springs, Colo., as more than 1,000 firefighters battle flames that by midday had forced more than 26,000 people to flee their homes.

It was local Fire Chief Rich Brown who called the inferno epic Tuesday night. Today, Lt. Jeff Kramer of the El Paso County Sheriff's Office said it's an event "that is certainly unprecedented in this city," The Denver Post reports.

Read more
Education
4:56 pm
Mon September 19, 2011

Tim Egan author of 'The Big Burn' says effects still being felt

The author of the 2009 bestseller, “The Big Burn,” says the famous 1910 fire that scored millions of acres in the Northwest still holds relevance for us today.

There weren’t always public lands in America, and there was a time when the Forest Service was on the chopping block in Congress. The future of both was impacted by the famous 1910 fire in north Idaho, western Montana, and eastern Washington.

Read more
Washington wildfires
4:07 pm
Wed September 7, 2011

Wildfire closes US Highway 97, forces evacuations in Wash.

YAKIMA, Wash. — A wildfire has closed U.S. Highway 97 between Goldendale and Toppenish and is threatening about 30 homes.

Read more
Washington wildfires
8:43 am
Wed September 7, 2011

High wildfire danger in Cascades, Olympics

As in Washington, fire conditions in Oregon are high. In this photo the Dollar Lake fire smolders Tuesday near Laurance Lake, on Mount Hood, Ore. Firefighters labored to build containment lines before windy conditions return early this morning.
Associated Press

SEATTLE — The National Weather Service is warning of high wildfire danger over most of Washington's Cascades and Olympics.

Read more
Washington wildfires
10:53 am
Tue September 6, 2011

Crews contain Port Townsend fire as temps rise

PORT TOWNSEND, Wash. — Fire crews have contained a wildfire that burned about 30 acres near Port Townsend.

Read more
Traffic news
10:37 am
Thu August 18, 2011

Wildfire closes Highway 2 near Leavenworth

LEAVENWORTH, Wash. – About 90 firefighters are working to contain a 100-acre blaze that is burning in steep terrain northeast of Leavenworth and has forced the closure of Highway 2.

Read more
Environment
5:06 pm
Mon August 1, 2011

Study: 'Intensive' thinning needed to best cut wildfire risk

In the last ten years, the federal government and rural landowners have spent increasing sums of money thinning spindly trees and removing underbrush. The aim is to reduce risk from wildfire.

A new study by the Forest Service finds that tree stands need to be "intensively" thinned for that strategy to be effective.

Study co-author David Peterson of the Pacific Northwest Research Station in Seattle says a dense tinderbox forest before thinning could have more than a 1,000 trees per acre.

Read more
WILDFIRES
2:21 pm
Fri April 29, 2011

Cold, wet winter likely to push back Northwest fire season

Ken Salazar gives an overview of what the 2011 fire season could be like for the West. He spoke at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise.
Sadie Babits Northwest News Network

The southern part of the U.S. – Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California – will likely have significant wildfires this year. Already fire crews are battling more than a dozen fires just in Texas. But here in the Northwest, the fire outlook is much rosier.

Read more

Pages