wildfires

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The latest El Niño forecast report is out from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and it looks like the drought will continue into next year for most of Washington.

Consumer drones look like child's play after you get a look at the unmanned, water-dropping helicopter that was pitched to the federal government Wednesday. The K-MAX chopper is the largest of several remotely-piloted firefighting aircraft to get a tryout this year.

Fire officials are starting to get a handle on the cost of Oregon's most destructive wildfires this year.

To date, the lightning-caused Canyon Creek Complex has cost about $30 million. The bill is shared between the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and the Oregon Department of Forestry.

"So we split that based on the number of acres across the entire incident," said Tracy Wrolson, who is the assistant district forester ODF's Central Oregon district. "ODF, private grounds had about 18 percent of the total acreage on Canyon Creek."

Walden Holds Fire Meeting In Canyon City

Sep 15, 2015

More than 50 people turned out Monday in Canyon City to discuss the Canyon Creek wildfire and forest policy. The meeting was convened by Republican Congressman Greg Walden.

Canyon City residents who lost homes or property in the fire still face uncertainties. Will the government provide aid for replanting and restoration? How much salvage logging can take place? Can rehabilitation be completed before winter rains begin?

This wildfire season has hit northwest tribal lands particularly hard. Firefighters’ first priority is “life and property.” But some tribal members wonder why protecting some kinds of property—like farms and even second homes— comes before tribal forest land.

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.

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