Environment

KUOW's environment beat brings you stories on the ongoing cleanup of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, alternative energy, the health of the Puget Sound, coal transportation and more. We're also partnered with several stations across the Northwest to bring you environmental news via EarthFix.

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.

Methow Valley News staffer Darla Hussey took this photograph from a location a half-mile south of Twisp.
Methow Valley News photo/Darla Hussey

When residents of the Methow Valley want updates on the fires in their area, many of them have turned to the Facebook page of the local paper, the Methow Valley News.

Todd Quinn carries one of his surviving goats Saturday after a wildfire swept through his ranch the night before.
The Seattle Times/Sy Bean

Sy Bean is a 23-year-old photojournalist working as an intern for The Seattle Times. Some of his recent photos of the fires in Washington have been featured on the front page. One in particular, of Chelan-area resident Todd Quinn, stood out to him. Sy shared this story of how it came about.

 The Goodell fire burns near a power line that transmits electricity from Seattle City Light’s three dams on the Skagit River to customers in Seattle and beyond.
Seattle City Light photo/Cody Watson

Eight fires have burned more than 4,000 acres in Washington’s North Cascades. The largest of the fires has damaged transmission lines, leading Seattle City Light to shut down power generation at three dams on the Skagit River.

The utility is losing $100,000 in revenue each day that the lines are down. Conditions have remained unsafe for repair crews to work on the power lines.

Q: Have the fires damaged the dams?

Weather Could Cause Trouble For Washington Fire Crews

Aug 25, 2015

Weather is expected to cause more problems Monday for fires in north central Washington. The Okanogan Complex is burning more than 250,000 acres.

The fight against the huge wildfires in north central Washington has turned a corner. Fire bosses have even started using words like “optimistic” and “great progress.”

Firefighters are gaining the upper-hand in containing the Canyon Creek Complex fires. But that’s not much relief to the wildfire’s worst-hit community. So far, 39 homes near John Day, Oregon, have been destroyed, along with around 50 barns, stores and other structures.

Escaped Juvenile Inmate Expected To Survive

Aug 24, 2015

The Chelan County Sheriff's Office said a juvenile inmate who escaped from the fire lines in north central Washington and shot himself in the head is expected to survive.

Firefighters from Salem, Oregon, mop up hotspots on Judy Doran McBride's ranch near Twisp this weekend.
Courtesy Judy Doran McBride

Wildfire was roaring toward their 640-acre ranch near Twisp, but Judy Doran McBride and her husband stood their ground.

“If the fire comes our way, we’re going to stay and defend our home,” McBride told KUOW’s Marcie Sillman.

Canyon Creek Complex Moves Away From Homes

Aug 24, 2015

As firefighters start to gain control of Canyon Creek Complex, the blaze is moving away from homes and into wilderness.

Heavy Smoke Lowers Chelan Air Quality, Helps Firefight

Aug 24, 2015

Fires in north central Washington are continuing to threaten homes and buildings. Thousands of people are still under evacuation orders. But calming winds have helped slow the fires’ progress.

Smokejumpers from the McCall base in Idaho prepare to drop into the Payette National Forest, Idaho, on July 2, 2014.
U.S. Forest Service Photo/Kari Greer

Wildland firefighters come in all forms: There are seasonal workers, Army reservists – and prisoners who fight fires for a few dollars a day.

And then there are the smokejumpers who parachute into the heart of fire country.

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

The massive, deadly wildfire burning in Okanogan County has become the largest blaze in state history, a fire spokesman said Monday.

Pages