Emily Schwing | KNKX

Emily Schwing

Boise State Public Radio

The National Guard is gearing up to help fight wildfire in eastern Washington, and Gov. Jay Inslee has declared a state-wide emergency.

Regardless of where you live in the Northwest, someone was there before you…but who?

U.S. Customs and Border Protection plans to reduce operating hours at a border crossing between Danville, Washington, and Grand Forks, British Columbia, and residents in Ferry County, Washington aren’t pleased.

Trade was at the forefront of the conversation with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue Monday in Spokane.

Last year, the Washington state Supreme Court granted the Yakama Nation the right to transport goods and services across state lines without taxation. Attorneys and tribal members called it a landmark case for tribal sovereignty. Now the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review it.

As boat inspections in the Northwest ramp up for summer, an inspection at the Washington-Idaho border near Spokane last week turned up highly invasive zebra mussels.

The first round of talks to modernize the U.S.-Canada Columbia River Treaty took place this week. Officials from the U.S. negotiating team briefed reporters on Thursday on progress at the talks, which are aimed at revising the 54-year-old agreement which governs hydropower and flood control along the Columbia River. 

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers is lobbying for a bipartisan prison reform bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this month. The Republican made the pitch in Spokane this week.

Methow Valley business owners are celebrating a relatively normal opening of the North Cascades Highway. The highway brings tourists and tourism dollars into the north central part of the state.  

This story has been updated.

The United States and Canada next week will begin the official process of re-negotiating the Columbia River Treaty, which expires in 2024. The 1964 agreement governs the upper reaches of the 1,200 mile Columbia River.

If you’re looking to get outside on Memorial Day weekend, you might first check your phone. The U.S. Forest Service launched a mobile app this week that provides trail maps and updates on wildfires and road conditions for all of the Pacific Northwest’s national forests, a national grassland and one scenic area.

Emergency management officials are trying to protect drinking water systems throughout the Okanogan Valley from flood water contamination.

Crews with the Washington Department of Transportation have been working for two days to fortify a stretch of U.S. Highway 97 threatened by the rising Okanogan River.

A few days ago, there were a few small piles of sandbags, some cones and a sign warned drivers to slow down at Milepost 313.

Volunteers joined emergency crews this week to brace for the possibility of major flooding on a number of rivers in north central and eastern Washington state.

The combination of a near-record snowpack in southern British Columbia and temperatures soaring into the upper 80s has caused flood watches starting at the U.S.-Canada border running south along the Okanogan River.

Correspondent Emily Schwing is on the scene and sent back these photos.

It’s been a busy day along Highway 97 near Tonasket, Washington, as trucks haul sand and sandbags to communities that could be affected by extreme flooding along the Okanogan River. The river first crested last Saturday.

But residents are bracing for more.

A number of rivers in north central and eastern Washington are in imminent danger of flooding. That’s because spring temperatures have soared into the upper 80s and Canada’s near record snowpack is melting fast.

Flooding hasn’t been this bad in the Okanogan Valley since 1972. This week, forecasters say, it could get close to breaking that record.

Okanogan County Fire District Commissioner Jack Denison said that’s a “worst case scenario.”

Towns in central and northeast Washington are under flood watches as rivers swell from rapid snowmelt in the mountains.

In the small Washington border town of Oroville, the Okanogan River is above flood stage and the river is expected to begin flooding south as the week progresses.

Demonstrators took to land and sea in British Columbia Wednesday as energy giant Kinder Morgan hosted shareholders at an annual meeting in Texas. In Houston, tribal leaders voiced their opposition to the company’s proposed expansion of the Trans-Mountain Pipeline—a project that could increase the amount of crude oil shipped to Washington state.

Washington Supreme Court justices will be in northeastern Washington Tuesday to hear three cases in Nespelem, where the Confederated Tribes of the Colville are headquartered.

As tick season reaches its peak in the Northwest, a new report from the Centers for Disease Control says diseases spread by tiny creatures like mosquitoes and ticks have tripled in the U.S. over the last 14 years.

A disease that affects wild elk populations has been spreading in Western Washington for a decade. Now, wildlife managers say they have found evidence of elk hoof disease east of the Cascades.

The last caribou herd in the Lower 48 is dwindling. According to aerial survey data collected earlier this spring, it’s down from 11 animals last year to just three.

Federal officials were in Spokane Wednesday night to talk about the future of the Columbia River Treaty, an agreement between the U.S. and Canada that dates back to 1964. It governs hydropower and flood control measures along the upper reaches of the 1,200 mile Columbia River.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee was on the shore of Lake Union in Seattle Wednesday to launch a cross-border flight service between the Emerald City and Vancouver, British Columbia.

A report out last month says visitors spent nearly $740 million in communities near U.S. Forest Service lands in Washington and Oregon. The number of visitors and dollars coming into the region hasn’t changed much in nearly two decades.

Forests and grasslands in Eastern Washington state are at high risk for large, intense wildfire. This spring Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife plans to using controlled burning on more than 1,000 acres in Okanogan, Ferry and Pend Oreille counties.

The “Mobile Mouth”, a 42-foot long mobile dentist’s office, will stop in Portland and Spokane this week as part of a nationwide tour to provide free dental care to veterans. 

Nearly half of the members of the Colville Reservation in northeastern Washington state have ties to a tribe that Canada says no longer exists. In 1956, the last member of the Sinixt in Canada passed away.

A Native American man has been sentenced to four months in jail and he’ll have to pay more than $1,000 in fines for illegally catching and selling chinook salmon and sturgeon in Washington state.

The new person in charge of regional firefighters at the U.S. Forest Service has called for an increase in prescribed fire and a change in attitude about wildfires.

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