environment

The region known as the wettest place in the lower 48 states is on fire. Washington State’s Olympic National Park, characterized by lush foliage, massive hanging ferns and spongy lichens, is experiencing the worst wildfire in the park’s history — a blaze that has consumed 1,600 acres and is not expected to be under control for another two and a half months.

Fire crews said Monday afternoon that the Douglas County Complex fire burning near Wenatchee, Washington, is at least 55 percent contained.

The hottest June on record for Oregon and Washington came on the heels an unusually warm winter and spring. Now, Northwest rivers are running at or near all-time lows and cities with water reserves are drawing them down.

Some towns have already issued water advisories and asked residents to cut back voluntarily. Even the cities with lots of water, like Portland and Seattle, are finding they have less to work with.

A bill that would make big changes to how the federal government pays to fight wildfire passed the U.S. House of Representatives Thursday.

The Oregon Legislature has just adjourned for the year, leaving some unfinished business when it comes to a state forest that’s been the subject of controversy.

Conservation groups expressed dismay last year when state officials decided to sell parts of the Elliott State Forest to timber companies. The Legislature had the opportunity to shape the future of the forest. But with no action on three different bills, its fate is still far from decided.

Seattle sunrise.
Flickr Photo/Michael B. (CC BY NC ND)

It’s fair to say that dire warnings about climate change have become the new normal. Consider these recent headlines from NASA’s Climate Change Blog: "Turkish Glaciers Shrink By Half," "A Third Of Big Groundwater Basins In Distress," "It's The Final Act For Larsen B Ice Shelf," and "Longer Melt Season A Game Changer For Arctic Mammals."

So we shouldn’t expect a great punch line when our bar scenario takes place, as it did recently at Columbia City’s Royal Room. 

There's new evidence that wild bees, some of nature's most industrious pollinators of wildflowers and crops, are getting squeezed by our planet's changing climate.

With more than half of Oregon in a drought emergency, Governor Kate Brown said state agencies can help conserve water for the rest of the state.

Juniper is a native Oregon species. But decades of fire suppression and grazing have allowed the tree to spread voraciously over Eastern and Central Oregon. That's a problem because juniper consumes sage grouse habitat and sucks up a lot of water.

The Oregon Legislature passed two bills at the end of the session to help boost juniper harvest, HB 2997 and HB 2998.

The bills provide funding to boost the state's fledgling juniper harvest industry.

Gerard Joseph LaBrecque operates a milling and harvesting company out of Hines that targets juniper.

Smoky skies from wildfires in Vancouver makes for an orange sun as it sets.
Flickr Photo/Alejandro Mejía Greene (CC BY NC ND)

Ross Reynolds speaks with Vaughn Palmer, columnist for the Vancouver Sun, about the worst fire season British Columbia has ever seen. And Gary Schneider, meteorologist with the National Weather Service, talks about  smoke from Canadian wildfires and the impact it's having in Washington state. 

A view from the Big 4 ice caves in Washington from December 2014. Last weekend, warm weather caused a collapsed that killed one hiker and injured five others.
Flickr Photo/Michael Matti (CC BY NC ND 2.0)

Kim Malcolm talks to Doug Clark, associate professor of geology at Western Washington University, about the different types of ice caves, how they are formed and their risks.

You would think that Vancouver, British Columbia, residents would be breathing a little easier following the end of the Women's World Cup, but smoke from nearby fires is making it near impossible.

New Year Brings New Pups To OR-7 Wolf Pack

Jul 8, 2015

Oregon's wandering wolf's lonely days are far behind after biologists found evidence that OR-7's Rogue Pack has expanded by a second set of pups.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife released a video from trail cameras Tuesday that shows the yearling wolves playing in the Cascades east of Medford, which ODFW shared on its Oregon Wildlife Viewing Facebook page.

A Central Washington Water Project Gets Senate Hearing

Jul 8, 2015

A warming climate is making water more scarce in places that rely on runoff from mountain snowpack -- places like the Yakima River basin in Central Washington.

That’s why a group of about 20 stakeholders have come together to develop a plan to help manage water in this agricultural center. Those stakeholders traditionally haven’t gotten along: environmentalists, farmers, the Yakama Nation tribal leaders, and government officials.

Canada is burning and America is choking on her smoke

Jul 7, 2015
Saskatchewan Ministry of Government Relations

I've lived and worked at PRI in Minneapolis for almost four years. Summers are usually the best time of year up here — temperatures are fairly moderate, days are long and the air is clear.

On Monday, though, the air was anything but. Canada is burning. Not all of Canada, but rather tens of thousands of acres of forest from Manitoba to Saskatchewan to British Columbia are on fire and all of that smoke is choking much of the western and central US.

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