wildfires

Hunkered low on the front deck of a yurt are two 20-somethings. The hut is plopped in the middle of a winding mountain canyon in Washington’s Methow Valley near the town of Twisp.

The State of Washington and residents in Okanogan County are concerned that more small dams could be at risk of failing after three of them burst in a thunderstorm event last week near Twisp in northcentral Washington.

The National Weather Service says slow-moving storms creeping through Central Washington could bring another round of mudslides this evening.

Residents are digging out from flooding that looks 300 yards wide in some places after mudslides brought down hillsides and torrents of mud ran down creeks outside of Twisp, Washington, Thursday night.

Aaron Dunlap started Friday morning with his car stuck in sand and a fish stuck in the dirt outside his cannabis farm. Dunlap is one of many people stuck digging themselves out today after landslides and flash floods near Twisp, Washington.

Heavy rains near Twisp, Washingon, have triggered flash floods and landslides on hills and ranches left charred by the Carlton Complex wildfire. Highways have been closed in Okanogan County and traffic has been rerouted.

Washington Wildfires Displace Deer

Aug 15, 2014

Wildfires have ravaged more than a million acres across the Northwest. In central Washington, the burned landscape will leave one of the state’s largest deer herds without a place to go this winter, when deer like to eat bitterbrush and chokecherry.

Those shrubs will be hard for deer to find this year – with 25,000 acres of habitat scorched by fire, including parts of five wildlife areas.

It might seem like fire season is as bad as it's ever been. But there's a group of researchers who question that prevailing wisdom.

This summer's active wildfire season is stretching fire crews to the limit. This week, virtually every available wildland firefighter in the Northwest is on the scene of a blaze.

Northwest cattle ranchers are struggling to get their herds out of the way of raging wildfires. Some herds have been lost, others badly injured.

Gov. John Kitzhaber followed his Wednesday tour of Oregon’s biggest wildfire by calling for Congress pay for forest health projects that would thin overgrown forests and reduce future fire danger.

"These fires are a symptom of a much larger forest health issue," he said at the Howard Prairie Lake campground, which is being used as base camp fighting the Oregon Gulch fire. "We just have to deal with the root causes. That means lending some urgency to improving the health and resiliency of our forests ... There's no reason in the world we should be doing this year after year."

Kittitas County Commissioner Obie O’Brien said he fears about a dozen homes have been lost to a fast-growing wildfire in the foothills north of Ellensburg, Washington. Those losses have not been confirmed.

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

Ross Reynolds speaks with Susan Prichard, a research scientist at the University of Washington School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, about the role that fires play in Washington's ecology and the efficacy of current firefighting methods.

For the second year in a row, the Oregon Department of Forestry says it will draw on a catastrophic loss insurance policy to help cover the costs of fighting wildfires.

ODF is responsible for protecting 16 million acres, roughly half the forestland in the state. It fights fires on Bureau of Land Management land, privately owned timber, and state and county forests.

Contract firefighters can often be found on the front lines. They’re usually indistinguishable from government firefighters. But a recent court ruling has re-emphasized that if they’re killed in the line of duty, there’s a big difference.

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