wildfires

Steve Surgeon surveys the ruins after he lost outbuildings and vehicles in a wildfire on the outskirts of Okanogan, Wash., Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015. His home was saved , though.
AP Photo/Brian Skoloff

Ross Reynolds speaks with EarthFix reporter Jes Burns about the role of climate change in this year's wildfire season. You can read more of her reporting here.

This horse went missing during the wildfires and was recently reunited with its owner.
Facebook/Chelan and Okanogan Wildfires Lost and Found Pets - NDARTT

The Northwest wildfires have not only displaced people – they’ve displaced animals too.

A non-profit group from Colorado is helping people in disaster area reunite with their pets. They post photos of missing animals to a Facebook group. It reads a lot like a lost-and-found bulletin board.

Q&A: The Wildfire-Climate-Change Connection

Aug 26, 2015

Wildfire season is in full swing, with more acres burned so far than in an average year.

Here in the Northwest, we’ve been hearing daily about all the wildfires burning. Many more communities are dealing with the smoke blowing in from those fires.

Scientists are studying the connections between climate change, drought and wildfire. And policymakers and fire managers are trying to keep pace with new demands on resources as firefighting costs continue to rise. Here are some of the big questions — and answers — about the connection between climate change and wildfires.

A juvenile inmate crew from Naselle Youth Camp in Southwest Washington. There were 30 kids part of the fire effort until last week, when a 16-year-old broke free, assaulted one of his supervisors and stole a gun.
Courtesy of Juvenile Rehabilitation Adminstration

Crews of juvenile inmates have been sent to fight wildfires in Washington state since the 1960s.

Until a teen escaped last week, assaulted a supervisor and then shot himself, there were 20 youth working on the fire line at the Chelan Complex Fire in central Washington. Another crew of 10 made sandwiches and meals in Okanogan County.

Unhealthy smoke continued to blanket large parts of central and eastern Washington state and north Idaho Wednesday. Some workers in north central Washington were sent home because the dense smoke was rated downright “hazardous.”

The incident command for Washington’s biggest wildfire requested a mental health team to help people in Okanogan County. A national nonprofit called Green Cross has responded to the call.

Smoke from an approaching wildfire looms over a home near Twisp, Wash., Aug. 19, 2015.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Marcie Sillman talks to Don Ashford, host at 97.5 FM  KTRT The Root about how he is using the airwaves to bring the latest wildfire information to residents of the Methow Valley.

Ross Reynolds speaks with Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer about wildfires in British Columbia and the impact there of fires across the border in Washington. 

Wildfires send up plumes of smoke across Washington on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015, in this photo produced using NASA's Worldview tool.
NASA Worldview

We experience the eerie, smoky sunsets. We hear the fire names like Wolverine and North Star.

These are just small glimpses into the huge picture of the West’s wildfires in 2015. Randy Eardly sees that long view at the National Interagency Fire Center. He told KUOW's David Hyde that nearly 1.3 million acres have burned so far in Washington and Oregon.

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

The state of Washington is taking an extraordinary step to battle the wildfires ravaging the region: seeking volunteers to join the fight. And the response so far is overwhelming.

Firewise is the name of a long-running campaign to get homeowners in wildfire country to take steps to reduce risk. Outside Omak, Wash., John Belles didn't just do the simple things. He built a futuristic, thin-shelled concrete dome house. It's now an unscathed beacon amid acres of hillside blackened by the Okanogan fire, the largest in state history.

Smoke 'Lumbers In Like A Wayward Drunk'

Aug 26, 2015
Don Nelson, the editor-owner of the Methow Valley News, with the Methow Valley in the background. The fires this season are the biggest on record in Washington state.
Courtesy of Don Nelson

Driving back to the cabin last night, I encountered almost no traffic on Highway 20 between Twisp and Winthrop. 

It is a Sunday night in August, the heart of what has been a record year for tourism here, Labor Day and the rodeo coming up, and the RVs, motorcycles and station wagons with fully laden bike racks are somewhere else that has not been evacuated or cut off from its main flow of visitors. Even Sheri’s Sweet Shoppe, which would usually be hopping with people loading up two – no, make that three – scoops of home-made ice cream onto a delicate waffle cone is closed and quiet.

Oregon fire officials are turning to National Guard troops to help contain wildfires across the Northwest.

More firefighters continue to arrive on the front lines of the nation’s highest priority wildfire. It’s the 400 square mile complex of lightning-sparked fires near the Canadian border in north central Washington dubbed the Okanogan Complex.

'Heart's Home': Finding Shelter From Twisp Fire Amid Last Year's Wreckage

Aug 25, 2015
A wildfire burns behind a home on Twisp River Road early Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015 in Twisp, Wash.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

When wildfire blazed through Meg Donohue’s property on Texas Creek last year, only a small cabin remained standing. It became a refuge last week when flames forced her to flee her new home 10 miles away in Twisp.

Donohue, owner of Blue Star Coffee Roasters, told KUOW’s Marcie Sillman on Tuesday that her return to Texas Creek was bittersweet.

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