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wildfires

Tri-Cities area residents woke up to a blood-red sunrise. The Range 12 Fire in southeast Washington has burned 175,000 acres and is 10 percent contained.

Crews Say Drones Hamper Firefighting Efforts

Aug 1, 2016

A wildfire in southeast Washington has grown to 70,000 acres between Yakima and the Tri-Cities. More than 100 crew members are working to keep the Range 12 Fire from spreading.

But they say something could slow that work down: drones.

Wildfire Season Blazes Into The Northwest

Jul 31, 2016

Several wildfires have broken out throughout Washington and Oregon this weekend after high heat, low humidity, and strong winds picked up.

Hundreds of people have been evacuated from communities north of Los Angeles because a wildfire is burning out of control in dry, hot canyons. More than a dozen homes have already been destroyed and a man was found dead in a car inside the fire zone on Saturday.

The man's home was one of those burned when the fire swept through Iron Canyon in Santa Clarita, Danielle Karson reports for NPR.

This year’s fire season has had a slow start. The winter’s thicker snowpack and cooler temperatures this summer have helped keep large fires at bay, said Carol Connolly with the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center.

"Part of the difference is the weather," Connolly explained. "We haven’t had the hot dry conditions that we’ve experienced the last few years. We have not had the lightning activity."

A plan to effectively remove the gray wolf from the federal endangered species list has been successfully added to a larger U.S. House appropriations bill.

The House voted to attach the amendment to legislation funding for the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Interior.

Editor’s note: Anna King’s reports from the 2015 wildfires in Washington state earned national recognition in breaking news and crisis journalism. We asked our Richland correspondent to reflect on fire, safety, and what’s changed over the years. --Phyllis Fletcher

The Northwest saw several red flag warnings and fast-burning fires over the long holiday weekend. And in the last several years, regional firefighters say they are seeing bigger fires that threaten more homes.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act in response to the Wassen Pond Fire in Wasco County.

The fire has burned about 300 acres and is threatening nearby homes and structures.

A level-2 pre-evacuation notice was issued Monday to some residents.

The emergency declaration will allow additional resources to support the effort to contain the fire.

This story has been updated.

A wildfire that broke out near Cle Elum Saturday has been fully contained according to the Kittitas County Sheriff's Office. The 50-acre fire caused several homes to be evacuated and threatened Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest.

Fireworks aren’t the only thing firefighters have to worry about this Fourth of July weekend. They have a big battle on their hands and have been bringing in extra crews and equipment to posts east of the Cascades.

Five years of drought, 100-plus temperatures and gusting winds: Firefighters in Southern California are facing dangerous conditions as they battle two day-old fires east of Los Angeles.

And they're not alone. Wildfires are raging in several Western states as a heat wave grips the region.

The Reservoir Fire and the Fish Fire in Los Angeles County, both of which started Monday, have burned thousands of acres each. More than 750 homes have been evacuated, the LA County Fire Department says.

Firefighters on the fire line at the Blue Creek Fire, located east of Walla Walla, Wash. It began on July 20, 2015 and consumed an estimated 6,004 acres.
Flickr Photo/USDAgov (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/wWtrYh

Bill Radke speaks with Ben Hale, a new wildfire fighter with the Washington state Department of Natural Resources, about why he wanted to become a wildfire fighter. This will be Hale's first season fighting wildfires. 

A 1,900 acre fire near Lake Billy Chinook continues to threaten more than 900 homes. Officials said the fire is 30 percent contained.

The Akawana fire is within a few miles of a subdivision northeast of Sisters in Jefferson County, and it's triggered a preliminary evacuation notice for residents. Residents in the area have been asked to be ready to leave at a moment’s notice.

The lighting-caused blaze is currently burning in heavy brush and ponderosa pine on state forestland.

If you're at the Gorge Amphitheatre in central Washington and there's a large wildfire -- you might want to consider missing the next set of your favorite band. Just on Sunday, a 600-acre wildfire raged about three miles from the main stage where Alabama Shakes and The Cure were playing.

The out-of-control wildfire burning in northern Alberta has fire officials south of the border casting a nervous eye toward the summer.

The latest news that the Canadian blaze has moved into oil fields after destroying parts of an entire city comes as the U.S. Forest Service issues its annual wildfire forecast for the Western United States Tuesday.

An air tanker drops red fire retardant on a wildfire near Twisp, Wash., Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015.
FLICKR PHOTO/BEN BROOKS (CC BY-SA 2.0) HTTP://BIT.LY/1KSV09N

State officials are investigating the causes of two forest fires northeast of Seattle.

With no lightning reported in the Oso or Gold Bar areas where the fires started, officials suspect they were caused by humans, either accidentally or intentionally.

A massive wildfire in Alberta, Canada, now extends more than 600 square miles, and officials are concerned that it could double in size on Saturday because of windy, dry weather conditions.

The Alberta government says some 500 firefighters are fighting the fire in and around Fort McMurray, in addition to 15 helicopters and 14 air tankers.

Days after they fled a powerful wildfire, more than 80,000 people who live in and around Fort McMurray are told that "it will not be a matter of days" before they can return home. Gusting winds have helped the fires spread farther, and more evacuation plans are being formed.

Some 80,000 residents of Fort McMurray who have fled the wildfire raging in Alberta, Canada, are now hearing that the fire has destroyed 1,600 homes and other structures. The province is now under a state of emergency; areas around Fort McMurray are also under a boil-water advisory.

A new forest study reveals an unexpected silver lining for forests attacked by insects like the mountain pine beetle.

Researchers from the University of Vermont and Oregon State University studied fires in forests with outbreaks of both mountain pine beetles and western spruce budworms in the past 25 years. The new report shows that forests eaten up by insects had less severe wildfires than those that were insect-free.

Authorities have issued a mandatory evacuation order for the 80,000 residents of Fort McMurray in Alberta, where a wildfire has taken hold in the oil sands region. According to officials, it's the largest evacuation order caused by fire in the province's history.

Bill Radke speaks with Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer about the controversy surrounding a right-to-die law in Canada. They also talk about the start of wildfire season in British Columbia.

After Fires In West, Mushroom Hunters 'Chase The Burn'

Apr 20, 2016

Right now, and in the coming weeks, from Northern California to Alaska, commercial and amateur mushroom hunters will be scouring hills that were ravaged by fires last summer and fall. Their prey? Morel mushrooms.

"Sometimes we call it 'chasing the burns,' " mushroom enthusiast Kevin Sadlier says, in search of the black morel mushrooms that grow in the springtime after a forest fire.

A plane dumps fire retardant on a ballooning wildfire on Aug. 14.
Flickr Photo/Ben Brooks (CC BY-SA 2.0) bit.ly/1KSulVD

Bill Radke speaks with Trevor McConchie, firefighter with the Department of Natural Resources, about this year's wildfire season and how people can prepare. Find out how to defend and prepare your home for wildfire season.

Klamath Forest Wildfire Plan Faces Pushback

Mar 29, 2016

During the summer of 2014, wildfires burned more than 200,000 acres of the Klamath National Forest in northern California’s Siskiyou County. Last year, the U.S. Forest Service proposed a program of salvage logging, replanting and hazardous tree removal. That plan faced opposition from environmental groups and the Karuk Indian tribe. Now, a modified version of the plan has been approved, and was immediately met with a challenge in federal court.

Idaho counties could declare federal forestland within their borders to be a "catastrophic public nuisance" under a measure approved by an Idaho legislative committee Tuesday.

A few short months from now, federal and state foresters around the West will purposely set controlled burns to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires later. This is a regular practice in Oregon, Idaho and California, but much less common in Washington state.

A proposed summertime ban on consumer fireworks is firing people up at the Washington state Capitol. It’s just one of many ideas being floated in Northwest statehouses to avoid a repeat of last summer's bad wildfire season.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee will roll out his proposed update to the state’s two-year budget on Thursday. One of the chief spending items will be paying for last summer’s fire season.

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