wildfire | KNKX

wildfire

Two girls play in warm and sunny weather at the International Fountain in Seattle on Friday, July 13, 2018.
Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press

With all the bright sun, blue skies and warm temperatures that have dominated Puget Sound weather recently, it’s a little ironic to see showers in the forecast for Saturday. This weekend is the one anyone planning a major outdoor event in the Northwest typically aims for, says KNKX weather expert Cliff Mass.

Andrew Selsky / AP Photo

State and federal agencies are working to build their capacity for the use of prescribed fire to manage forests.  

That process began Sunday in Cle Elum as participants in a training exchange gathered for exercises that will continue over the next two weeks. They include intentionally set fires on up to 930 acres in central and eastern Washington.

Tim Durkan / Tim Durkan Photography

Cloudy skies, cool marine air and patches of drizzle greeted folks in the Puget Sound region Friday morning for a second day.

The filtered light and soft cloud layer signaled a return to more typical weather after nearly three months of dry skies and above-normal temperatures. The days of temperatures in the 90s are done, says KNKX weather expert Cliff Mass, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Where there’s heat, there is often fire. The fire risk on both sides of the Cascade Mountains is high in the week ahead, as temperatures will be zooming up as high as 90 degrees after a rather dry June.

Inciweb via AP

Summer this year in the Pacific Northwest is once again expected to be hotter and drier than normal. That means higher potential for wildfires from July through September.

Just in time for the heat, a new book on fighting and managing those fires is out from local publisher, Mountaineers Books. It’s focused on an elite wildland firefighting force in Boulder, Colorado.





A state of emergency, excessive heat and an extended period of dry weather are unlikely to pair well with an influx of up to 1.5 million visitors in Oregon in two weeks.

Two wildfires in north-central Washington are being managed as one. Fresh firefighters poured in Thursday to battle the Sutherland Canyon Fire, which grew dramatically overnight. The Spartan Fire near Wenatchee is transitioning to mop-up.

Washington state officials say people in Eastern Washington need to hunker down for a likely dust storm and possible wildfire conditions Tuesday night.

Updated at 11 a.m. ET

A wildfire swept through central Portugal on Saturday, killing more than 60 people and injuring dozens more in what the country's prime minister called "the biggest tragedy of human life that we have known in years."

The deadly blaze, which was just one of dozens that broke out Saturday, ravaged the heavily wooded municipality of Pedrogão Grande, roughly 100 miles from Lisbon. According to officials, most of the victims died in their cars along a single road as they attempted to escape.

LEAVENWORTH, Wash. (AP) — Evacuation orders are still in effect in as crews battle a wildfire north of Leavenworth, Washington.

Brendan Cowan, a spokesman for the Northwest Incident Management Team, says the blaze covered about 40 acres as of Wednesday morning.

Cowan says there's been no injuries reported.

Megafires are the kind of wildland fires that grow beyond 100,000 acres. And they are a growing threat across the American West. That’s why one federal scientist in the Northwest is hitting the road with his research.

Washington’s Department of natural resources responded to small wildfires in two of the state’s northernmost counties this week. But land managers don’t believe the blazes are harbingers of what’s to come just yet. 



Wildfires can start when lightning strikes or when someone fails to put out a campfire. New research shows that people start a lot more fires than lightning does — so much so that people are drastically altering wildfire in America.

Fire ecologist Melissa Forder says about 60 percent of fires in national parks are caused by humans: "intentionally set fires, buildings burning and spreading into the forest, smoking, equipment malfunctions and campfires."

InciWeb

An emergency operations team from the Northwest is working in Georgia this week to fight a few of the many wildfires burning in the smoky Southeast.

The team of about 50 is led by Noel Livingston of the Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch Center. It includes representatives from fire departments and federal land management agencies in Washington, Oregon and Alaska.

A wildfire in the mountains of California's Santa Clara County has destroyed a dozen homes and consumed about 4,400 acres of forest.

The Loma fire has been burning in the Santa Cruz mountains since September 26, and although it is more than 60 percent contained, it still threatens more than 150 structures, according to Cal-Fire, the state agency in charge of wildfire efforts. Almost 2,000 personnel, including inmate fire crews, are fighting the blaze.

After two years of some of the worst fires and smoke the Northwest has ever seen, Washington’s Methow Valley is catching its breath. Dozens of businesses didn’t make it through and the fires still throw a long shadow.

An interagency incident management team has taken over the Hart Fire burning on the Spokane Indian Reservation. The wildfire spread rapidly onto tribal land, but response hasn’t kept up with the pace of the blaze. Strong winds spread the fire fast enough to force an initial attack crew to flee.

A series of intense wildfire seasons has taken a toll on the Oregon Department of Forestry. That's according to an audit released Tuesday by the Oregon Secretary of State's office.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee Tuesday declared a state of emergency in 20 counties mostly on the dry side of the Cascades, an area vulnerable to wildfire. Resources are stretched thin in the battle to save homes and property.

Firefighters have reached full containment of a blaze east of Los Angeles that forced tens of thousands to evacuate their homes. At the same time, multiple wildfires continued to challenge crews throughout the state.

California's Department of Forestry and Fire Information declared the Blue Cut Fire 100 percent contained Tuesday — but not before the 36,000-acre fire destroyed nearly 100 homes and forced the evacuation of 80,000 people in San Bernardino County.

Spokane, Washington, the state’s second largest city, found itself surrounded by flames Monday after high winds and heat Sunday caused the rapid spread of three separate wildfires.

When a fast-moving, erratic wildfire ignites, firefighters right away try to save homes and steer the flames away from life and property. But experts say the real danger often occurs in the hours after the big wall of flames rips through.

In southeast Washington, the Range 12 Fire is finally out. But now there’s 176,600 acres of black. And it’s roasted much of the valuable habitat on the Hanford Reach National Monument.

In Southern California, an out-of-control wildfire that ignited Tuesday in a mountain pass east of Los Angeles has forced mass evacuations and destroyed an untold number of homes and businesses.

The Bluecut Fire is just the latest inferno to plague the historically dry state. In recent days, fast-moving wildfires have raced into mountain towns and even whole cities, blackening more than 30,000 acres and destroying hundreds of homes and structures.

A bipartisan coalition of Western U.S. lawmakers has renewed a call to change how the federal government pays to put out big forest fires. Currently, the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management divert money from fire prevention and other programs to pay firefighting costs during bad fire years.

Faulty wiring on a hot tub caused California's third-most-destructive wildfire, which left four people dead and destroyed more than 1,300 homes last year, California fire authorities say.

The Valley Fire burned 76,067 acres in the state's northern Sonoma, Lake, and Napa counties last September. On Wednesday, investigators with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection revealed that a hot tub installed on a residential property in Cobb was the likely cause.

Fire crews in California were battling three major wildfires, gaining ground on two of them but hampered by steep terrain while fighting a third blaze.

In central California, the Mineral Fire saw "extreme fire behavior" overnight, burning 5,000 acres off Highway 198 in Fresno County, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. As of Wednesday afternoon, the blaze was just 10 percent contained despite the efforts of some 1,000 fire personnel.

A study of drinking water supplies throughout the U.S. shows that numerous sources are contaminated with firefighting chemicals.

A team of scientists examined government data from thousands of public drinking water supplies. The water samples had been collected by the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

The scientists were looking for several types of chemicals from a class of fluorinated substances used commonly in firefighting foam.

Tuesday’s high winds set two major new fires raging in Washington state. One ripped across grassy eastern Washington flats near Moses Lake and the other up a steep canyon near the Snake River and Pullman.

The Range 12 Fire in southeast Washington has destroyed some of the most sensitive shrub steppe habitat in the nation.

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