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wildfires

Firefighters on the Blue Creek Fire burning just outside of Walla Walla are intensifying their fight to hold a line and keep the wildfire out of a watershed and residential area. Correspondent Anna King describes the scene:

The Blue Creek Fire burning 10 miles east of Walla Walla, Washington, has grown to 5.500 acres and is the top priority fire in the Northwest for federal resource managers.

One thousand firefighters are fighting the Blue Creek Fire Thursday about eight miles outside of Walla Walla, Washington.

The Blue Creek Fire burning about 10 miles east of Walla Walla, Washington, has grown to more than 5,500 acres. Evacuations remain in place as about 600 firefighters try to head off the flames burning in grass, bush and timber.

Four hundred firefighters attacked the Blue Creek wildfire 10 miles east of Walla Walla, Washington, Tuesday. The wind and dry ground let it grow up to 4,200 acres.

The Blue Creek wildfire 10 miles east of Walla Walla, Washington, has grown to 4,200 acres and is growing to the southeast.

A wildfire about 10 miles east of Walla Walla, Washington, grew to the southeast Tuesday afternoon. The close proximity to town means some people are driving by to get an up-close look at the fire.

Walla Walla County expects more than 400 personnel on the scene of a growing fire ten miles east of Walla Walla by Tuesday afternoon.

A fire that started Sunday afternoon jumped lines around noon Monday and burned across Interstate 90 near George, Washington. The fire has grown to about 900 acres, but so far no structures have burned.

Mark Huff was a young post-graduate student back in 1978 when the Hoh Fire burned 1,250 acres not too far from the site of the current Paradise Fire. He’s been studying Olympic rainforest fires ever since. Historically, these fires occur every 500-1,000 y
KUOW Photo/Ashley Ahearn

PORT ANGELES, Wash. -- It’s 6 a.m. and a special team of fire response coordinators is gathered at Port Angeles High School.

This incident command center is more than 100 miles from the wildfire they’re dealing with: the Paradise Fire, which is burning on the western edge of Olympic National Park.

This small house with a family with five kids was saved by defensible space at the Chelan Butte Fire in 2011. The property had green grass all the way around. The owner is a former Forest Service employee who knows what it means to live in fire country.
Flickr Photo/Washington DNR (CC BY NC ND)

Ross Reynolds interviews Roger Faris about how to protect your home from wildfire, whether you live near a forest, in the suburbs or in the city. Faris has worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency in disaster areas from Alaska to Florida, including Eastern Washington during last year’s severe wildfire season,  to figure out what can be done to reduce damage from disaster.

This year is poised to be a difficult firefighting season in the Pacific Northwest. Most parts of Oregon and Washington experienced the warmest January to June since record keeping began in 1890, and the drought that has devastated California is steadily advancing north.

Making the season even more tense, firefighters are reporting an increasing number of near misses with unmanned drones, many of which appear to be sent by hobbyists or photographers trying to document fires.

Cooler temperatures around the region have slowed the number of wildfires burning in the Pacific Northwest.

"This is a nice reprieve in the middle of July," said Robin DeMario, a spokesperson with the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center in Portland.

Right now, fire crews are making gains on seven large-scale fires that are burning about 60,000 acres in Oregon and Washington.

The cool and at times even wet weather during the past week has given the 1,300 firefighters scattered around the Pacific Northwest the upper hand, at least for now, DeMario said.

A remote mountain village on the Northwest end of Lake Chelan in Washington state, was braced for an evacuation order because of wildfire Monday night.

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.

Members with the U.S. Forest Service's Lassen Interagency Hotshot crew stationed at Susanville, Calif., observe an Alaska Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter approach a landing zone June 30, 2013, over Palmer, Alaska.
Flickr Photo/U.S. Department of Defense (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with Alaska Public Radio reporter Alexandra Guttierez about the challenges of fighting fires in Alaska.

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