wildfires

Another round of warm weather this week is prompting Northwest fire managers to warn that this summer's challenging fire season isn't over yet.

As Smoke Clears, Twisp Hotel Welcomes Back Tourists

Sep 4, 2015
A wildfire burns behind a home on Twisp River Road early Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015 in Twisp, Wash.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Marcie Sillman talks to Joe Marver, owner of the Twisp River Suites hotel, about how business is doing in the wake of this summer's devastating fire season. 

Firefighters line up to get gear out of the back of a fire truck as they get ready to head for a fire Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015, in Twisp, Wash.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Todd Mundt speaks with Richard Harvey, a volunteer firefighter working on the Okanogan complex fires. After the "hot, dirty work" on the fire line that gets all the attention, he says,“Mop up is the dirty part that they don’t show on the television.”

Heidi Cornell and her husband Rick were evacuated three times from their home in the Okanogan area. This is a Google Earth view of Greenacres Road, where they live with their animals.
Google Earth

My husband is telling me to come home.

“It’s close,” he says.

“How close?”

“Within two miles, coming toward us.”

A seedling planted in a burned area of the Klamath National Forest in 2008.
Flickr photo/USFS Region 5

Marcie Sillman speaks with Mike Tupper, deputy assistant director for resources and planning at the Bureau of Land Management, about how conservationists are helping Washington's wild lands recover.

Human-Caused Fires Strain Resources In The Northwest

Sep 3, 2015

Ninety-seven large wildfires have burned on 1.5 million acres across Oregon and Washington this season. Of those fires, 43 were started by lightning. At least 12 were human-caused, but dozens more remain under investigation.

Fire managers in the Northwest say the recent rain doesn't mean the wildfire danger is over. Some parts of the Northwest got more than an inch of rain in the last week of August.

Tom Zbyszewski
Courtesy of Jesse Michener

Among the three firefighters who lost their lives last month fighting the wildfires in Okanogon was one with a connection to poetry. Tom Zbyszewski, 20, grew up in the Methow Valley.

That got KUOW's literary producer and Washington state poet laureate Elizabeth Austen thinking about how Pacific Northwest poets have responded to wildfires. She talked with Marcie Sillman about poems by Kevin Goodan and Nance Van Winckel.

A wildfire can burn more than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, that’s more than twice as hot as the surface of Venus. Its flames can reach more than 50 meters high.

Wildfires can get so big that they create their own weather systems, with hurricane force winds. On the ground, the average wildfire moves twice as fast as the average person can run.

How do wildland firefighters tame such an inferno?

Daniel Lyon is seen this summer, his first season as a firefighter.
Courtesy Lyon Family

Daniel Lyon, the firefighter severely injured during the deadly Twisp River Fire, is slowly making progress but not out of danger, his doctors said Tuesday.

Smoke from wildfires in the Northwest stream in this photo taken from the International Space Station.
NASA

Marcie Sillman speaks with Sarah Mirk, online editor for Bitch Media, about what Portlanders are doing in response to Oregon's drought. (Hint: not much.)

Kent Stokes says hundreds of miles of fenceline will have to be rebuilt after last year's Carlton Complex and this year's Okanogan Complex wildfires. Cattle ranchers depend on good fences and good neighbors to manage thier lands well.
N3 Photo/Ian C. Bates

In the poem “Mending Wall,” Robert Frost lays down the well-worn quote, “Good fences make good neighbors.” In this year’s dramatic Northwest wildfires, ranchers and neighbors are cutting down “good fences” of all kinds.

'Good' Forest Fires: Should Smokey Bear Retire?

Aug 31, 2015
A roadside sign warns of fire danger during the Beaver Creek Fire in Idaho in 2013.
Flickr photo/U.S. Department of Agriculture (CC BY 2.0)

David Hyde talks to former firefighter and environmental historian Stephen Pyne, who says we should retire Smokey Bear and light more "good" fires.

Rob Palmer, whose brother was killed in a wildfire, says the Wildland Firefighter Foundation provides support to families of the fallen.
Flickr photo/Washington Department of Natural Resources

Marcie Sillman speaks with former wildland firefighter Rob Palmer about his brother Andy Palmer. Andy Palmer died while fighting fires in California in 2008, in what became known as the Dutch Creek Incident.

Wildfires continue to burn across the state and it's hitting ranchers hard in central Washington.

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