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So far, more than 150 homes in Washington state have been destroyed in what veteran firefighters are calling the worst fire season in decades. 

In north-central Washington, fire crews aided by cooler temperatures and calmer winds are going on the offensive against several sprawling wildfires. Incident commanders of the region’s biggest and most destructive wildfire briefed residents in Omak and Brewster Sunday night.

Flickr Photo/The National Guard (SFC Jason Kriess) (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Bill Radke speaks with Brenda Riggan of Brewster, Washington, about coming back to her home after the Carlton Complex wildfire tore through the area and her frustration over never having received an evacuation notice in the first place. Then, Ross Reynolds talks with Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers about why people like Riggan didn't receive the same notices that other residents did.

Why Hot Cars Are So Deadly

Jul 21, 2014

It’s an annual summer tragedy. So far this year, 17 children in the U.S. have died of heat stroke inside a parked car. Some of those cases have been getting extra attention this summer, but that number is not unusual. Georgia Public Broadcasting’s Adam Ragusea looked into the science that explains how a parked car can get so hot, so fast.

It’s a sunny, summer day in Macon, Georgia. I’m standing with Matt Marone outside his truck, and the A.C. is on full blast.

As wildfires continue to blaze around the Northwest, both Oregon and Washington have issued emergency declarations for fire-ravaged portions of their state. Affected are 20 of Washington's eastern counties and central Oregon, where most of the state's 13 active fires are burning.

Flickr Photo/US Department of Agriculture (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks to Janet Pearce about recent wildfires in the state. Pearce does community outreach and environmental education for the Washington State Department of Natural Resources about the wildfires in Eastern Washington.

Then, Reynolds interviews Michael Fishbaugher, who was evacuated from his home last week as a wildfire swept within half a mile of his house.

Flickr Photo/Vicki (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with Tacoma News Tribune reporter Melissa Santos about her investigation into escalator safety in Washington state.

Marcie Sillman talks with Jeffrey Swanson about which public policies are effective in reducing gun violence. Swanson is a professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University School of Medicine.

Flickr Photo/John Russell (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with Les Zaitz, investigative reporter with The Oregonian, about his series on rural policing in Oregon.

Does Lockdown Training Save Lives?

Jun 12, 2014

New details are emerging today about the school shooting at Reynolds High School in Troutdale, Oregon, earlier this week.

Officials have identified the shooter as freshman student Jared Michael Padgett, and say he was armed with an AR-15 rifle and carrying nine loaded magazines, which could have shot off several hundred rounds. The gun and ammunition belonged to the boy’s family. Padget killed fellow freshman Emilio Hoffman and wounded a teacher.

Marcie Sillman talks to Greg Crane, president and founder of ALICE: Alert Lockdown Inform Counter Evacuate. He explains what he believes are the best practices are for responding to an active shooting situation.

Flickr Photo/Stephie189

Health officials have advised people not to eat clover sprouts until further notice because of a possible link to E. coli. Ten people have become ill from E. coli in Washington and Idaho since May 1; half of them were hospitalized.

Alec Baldwin, you were salmoning!

The actor was ticketed in New York on Tuesday for riding his bicycle the wrong way on a one-way street.

Cyclists use the term "salmoning" to describe a biker going against the stream on a one-way bike lane. Surely the definition can be broadened to include Baldwin's infraction.

Flickr Photo/Ruth Flickr

Steve Scher talks with journalist Brian Rosenthal about why King County mental health professionals are routinely missing deadlines to provide psychiatric evaluations — causing potentially dangerous patients to be released. Rosenthal reported the story for the Seattle Times. He now reports for The Houston Chronicle.

Flickr Photo/Adventures of KM&G-Morris

Ross Reynolds talks to Joseph Janes, University of Washington professor from the information school, about the origins of the black box in airplanes. Janes is host of the podcast "Documents That Changed The World."

KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

David Hyde speaks with Erica C. Barnett of PubliCola about crime and the politics of public safety in Seattle.

A disease-causing fungus thought to be confined to the deserts of the U.S. Southwest has been discovered in soil samples from eastern Washington.

Three candidates remain in the running to become Seattle’s next police chief.

Search committee co-chair Ron Sims says the short list became shorter by one candidate after the committee gave the four original finalists a written exam, conducted reference and background checks, and did intensive site visits.

Oregon State University (OSU) Press

Ross Reynolds speaks with Bonnie Henderson about her new book "The Next Tsunami: Living on a Restless Coast."

Just off the coast of Washington and Oregon is a fault line with potential to unleash an earthquake larger than the deadly magnitude 9 Japan quake in 2011 that triggered a tsunami.

Henderson tells the story about how geologists learned of the Cascadia Subduction Zone and how public officials have tried to adopt safety measures.

Spoiler alert: when you hear a siren, walk and keep walking.

The Oso landslide, with 41 dead and two still missing, could be the the third-worst natural disaster in Washington history after the Stevens Pass Avalanche of 1910 and the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980.

Scientists monitoring Mount St. Helens confirmed Wednesday that magma is on the rise and "re-pressurizing" the volcano in southwest Washington.

Flickr Photo/Phil Rhoeder (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman speaks with Eric Holdeman, a former Emergency Management Director for King County, about the lessons from the Oso slide response, and how they can help Washington State prepare for the next disaster.

On a Wisconsin street, a woman in a white hoodie stands frozen in the act of stepping out of the road and onto the curb, her left hand reaching behind her. As part of a public service announcement, she explains why she's there, as string music slowly plays under her voice.

"I had my brother in my hand, and all of a sudden my hand was empty," Aurie says as a car drives past. Her little brother, 8 years old at the time of the PSA, was left paralyzed after being hit by a car driven by a texting driver.

Prom season is coming up. That means tuxes, gowns and limos. But these days, an old fashioned stretch limo can look a bit stodgy.

The new rage is party buses. They carry more people and you can even stand up, dance and drink as you cruise down the road.

But these parties on wheels can come at a price. Nationwide there have been nearly two dozen fatalities on these buses and regulators say a crackdown on the industry is in order.

EPA Photo

The Environmental Protection Agency is working to remove hundreds of containers of hazardous chemicals from a Craftsman home in Seattle's Green Lake neighborhood.

Flickr Photo/Skip&Nell (CC BY-NC-ND)

You’ve probably heard the slogan “Click It or Ticket” to promote seatbelt safety. Now, Washington state is joining in a new national campaign to target people who text and drive.

Special patrols will be out statewide, starting Thursday, with a new snappy slogan to add: “U-Drive, U-Text, U-Pay.”

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Rescuers are employing high tech electronics to help locate buried victims in the Oso mudslide. But old fashioned tools have actually worked best according to local fire chief Travis Hots.

“In the last three days, the most effective tool has been dogs and just our bare hands and shovels uncovering people," he says. "The dogs are the ones that are pinpointing a particular area to look. We’re looking and that’s how we’re finding people.”

Courtesy of Bonnie Brown

Bonnie Brown still has photos to remind her of the cabin her parents built in the 1970s near the Stillaguamish River. It was the kind of place that kids dream of.

“It was just a very beautiful place,” she said. “With beaver ponds and streams and meadows and trails through the wood.”

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Weary searchers resumed their dangerous work Wednesday near Oso, Wash., where it's thought at least 25 people — and possibly many more — died when a massive mudslide buried dozens of homes and businesses on Saturday.

Headlines and news outlets' updates helped tell the story as the day began:

More Bodies Found In Mudslide Debris

Mar 26, 2014
Flickr Photo/GovInslee (CC-BY-NC-ND)

It's another wet day of rescue efforts at the landslide in Snohomish County. As of last night, two more bodies were recovered, while eight more were located.

That brings the likely death toll to 24, though authorities are keeping the official toll at 16 until the eight other bodies are recovered.

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