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.

The Wildfire Conundrum: Weeding The Forest

Nov 18, 2015

Editor's Note: The Wildfire Conundrum is a collaboration between the journalism nonprofit InvestigateWest and Jefferson Publ

Daniel Lyon speaks at a news conference on Harborview Medical Center on Wednesday, the day he was released after more than four months in the hospital recovering from burns suffered in the Twisp River wildfire.
Harborview Medical Center

A firefighter critically injured in a deadly wildfire in eastern Washington last summer left Harborview Medical Center on Wednesday after three months in the hospital.

“This accident was a true tragedy, but it’s brought out so much good in the world,” said Daniel Lyon Jr., wearing a clear protective mask to limit scarring from the severe burns on his face. “I’ve never seen so many gracious people in my life.”

Following a summer of record wildfires across the Northwest, Washington state officials worry that residents in burned-over areas could be facing floods and mud in the wake of incoming storms.

Strip-mining spoil piles in background in Colstrip, Montana, June 1973.
Flickr Photo/U.S. National Archives (Public Domain)/http://bit.ly/1MAbdwV

David Hyde speaks with Montana Public Radio news director Eric Whitney about how a coal town in Colstrip, Montana could be shuttered by climate change.

For the first time, prosecutors have obtained a federal Lacey Act conviction for trafficking in poached Northwest maple wood.

Washington is taking legal action against Volkswagen in the wake of a diesel vehicle scandal. Back in September, Volkswagen admitted to installing special software in some of its diesel vehicles, causing them to give false readings during pre-sale air quality tests. Forty-seven states, including Washington and Oregon announced investigations.

Now Washington has given the company formal notice that they violated the state’s Clean Air Act.

Port of Seattle cranes.
Flickr Photo/Dennis Hamilton (CC BY 2.0)/http://bit.ly/1SxOe9r

Ross Reynolds speaks with Fred Felleman, Seattle's most-recently elected Port commissioner, about why he thinks Seattle's citizens should pay attention to the doings at the Port of Seattle.

In 1987, late in the Cold War, in a government reading room in Richland , Washington, a historian was studying newly released documents about the Hanford nuclear reservation. Then, a strange man approached her.

Heavy rains have flooded the one road in and out of La Push on the Washington coast. That means the 300-400 residents of the Quileute Indian Reservation are cut off.

President Obama rejected the Keystone XL pipeline last week because of environmental concerns, but the decision may not be enough to keep Canada’s controversial tar sand oil locked in the ground.

A photographer from Wenatchee, Washington, has made a revealing discovery at the scene of a remote and long-abandoned fire lookout: a pile of very old firewood.

Washington forestry officials have updated state guidelines for evaluating unstable slopes that, if logged, could contribute to landslides.

Oregon's Fish and Wildlife Commission voted Monday to remove wolves from the state's list of endangered species.

The decision changes little in the short term for Oregon’s known population of 81 gray wolves. A state management plan would continue to permit killing wolves only if they're caught in the act of attacking or involved in repeated livestock damage.

A Washington state senator says he will try again in January to convince his colleagues to ban marine mammal shows. That announcement Monday came as SeaWorld said it will end orca whale performances at its San Diego theme park next year.

When the sand on the beach threatens to overrun your house and your driveway, long walks on the beach might not seem quite so romantic anymore. Some Oregon coastal communities want to form a new type of governmental agency just to deal with the problem of too much sand.