wildfires

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.

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

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. 

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.

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.

The Corner Creek Fire has burned 26,000 acres south of Dayville, Oregon.

Idaho Governor Butch Otter issued a disaster declaration Monday for two north Idaho counties dealing with a fast-growing wildfire.

Linda Vane from the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks examines a stand of Scotch broom, a invasive plant that is highly flammable.
KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

Linda Vane stoops down to pull out a handful of weeds at the edge of a gravel road. The weeds are dry and crumble in her hands. The soil beneath them is dry as well.

"I'm nervous this year," said Vane, who assesses wildfire risk in her duties with the forestry program at the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks.

Wildfire season in the Northwest has started early this year. Crews are battling the Buckskin Fire right now.

Scientists refer to the Buckskin as a “reburn” because it’s on land that was scorched by wildfire in the recent past. These reburns are a positive indication that the forests are recovering from decades of fire suppression.

Smoke from several warehouses on fire, thought to have been sparked by embers from a wildfire that hit homes on a nearby hillside, fills the sky Monday, June 29, 2015, in Wenatchee, Wash.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Fire came floating out of the sky into Wenatchee.

“Some of the embers we gathered and posted on social media, I mean, they're the size of a loaf of bread or bigger,” Wenatchee World editor Cal FitzSimmons told KUOW’s Marcie Sillman, describing the scene this week as a wildfire roared down from the northwest.

More than 200 firefighters are working to contain the 4,600-acre Sugarloaf Fire in Central Oregon. The blaze is burning in grassland, juniper, and conifer forest, and was likely ignited by lightning. The wildfire is burning on both private and federal lands north of Dayville.

Part of the fire is within the John Day Fossil Beds. To protect the national monument, firefighters are working to hold the fire and let it burn out, rather than bringing in bulldozers or other heavy equipment.

Oregon Firefighter Trains For A Big Season

Jun 25, 2015

Across the West, wildland firefighters are preparing for a busy season and a hot, dry summer, which is becoming the new norm. As EarthFix reported, more than 1.3 million acres have burned in the Northwest each year for the past three years.

Teresa Brna, 24, is a new seasonal firefighter with the Ochoco National Forest based in Prineville. OPB will check in with her throughout the summer. Recently, reporter Amanda Peacher followed her for a day at "guard school."

Hot weather is coming to the region this weekend, which concerns fire officials. As a precaution, fire managers say they're ramping up resources in anticipation for more blazes.

"I'm sure everyone is aware of the heat wave that is predicted over the next several days," Tom Fields, Oregon's Department of Forestry Fire Prevention Coordinator, said in a statement. "While we're all looking for ways to stay cool, now is not the time to be careless with activities that could lead to a wildfire."

Early Wildfires Blow Budget In British Columbia

Jun 24, 2015

David Hyde speaks with Vaughn Palmer, columnist for the Vancouver Sun, about the early start to wildfire season in British Columbia.

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