Only you (almost) can put Smokey Bear on Washington license plates

BY: - November 20, 2023

Washington drivers could one day be carrying Smokey Bear’s image and message on their license plates to help reduce the number of wildfires started by people. An effort launched Monday would create a specialty license plate featuring the iconic bear and its hallmark slogan: “Only you can prevent wildfires.” Proceeds from sales of the plates […]

WA lands commissioner race heats up with former GOP congresswoman’s entry

BY: - October 10, 2023

Former congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler entered the race for Washington’s Commissioner of Public Lands on Tuesday, giving Republicans a top-flight candidate in what’s shaping up as one of next year’s hottest electoral contests. Herrera Beutler, whose decision had been the subject of speculation for months, said she would focus on reducing the risk of catastrophic […]

Volunteer wildfire firefighters at a wildfire training course. Two people walk towards a fire burning. Most of the photo is smoke.

WA prisoners struggle with wildfire smoke as ventilation upgrades go unfunded

BY: - September 25, 2023

When the wildfire smoke arrives, Harry Whitman has nowhere to go.  “When there’s smoke or there’s a fire, they lock you in,” Whitman said.  Whitman, president of the advocacy group Black Prisoners’ Caucus, is incarcerated at Airway Heights Corrections Center. The prison is located less than 10 miles away from Medical Lake, Washington, where Gray […]

Investigation finds BNSF railway at fault for Tunnel 5 Fire

BY: - September 12, 2023

This story was originally published by Columbia Insight. On July 2, just east of Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Tunnel 5 in Skamania County, Washington, a blaze eventually designated as the Tunnel 5 Fire was ignited. Burning adjacent to heavily traveled Washington State Route 14 in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, the fire consumed […]


National officials should spark prescribed burns on federal lands to mitigate extreme fire seasons

BY: - August 3, 2023

As a former wildland firefighter for four years (2008-11), peak fire season would migrate north in late summer, to our district in Eastern Oregon, but the critical practice of prescribed burning was infrequently used in our region. Twelve years later, the fire seasons still migrate north, and millions of acres continue to be destroyed annually […]

Crews make headway battling wildfire in southern Washington

BY: - July 25, 2023

Firefighting crews are making progress containing a nearly 60,000-acre fire burning just north of the Columbia River in central Washington. It’s the biggest fire burning in the state, according to InciWeb, the online clearinghouse for wildfire information. But forecasters warn that more large blazes could be ahead as much of the state deals with dry […]


‘Zombie fires’ in the Arctic: Canada’s extreme wildfire season offers a glimpse of new risks

BY: - July 22, 2023

The blanket of wildfire smoke that spread across large parts of the U.S. and Canada in 2023 was a wake-up call, showing what climate change could feel like in the near future for millions of people. Apocalyptic orange skies and air pollution levels that force people indoors only tell part of the story, though. As […]

In much of U.S., workers lack protections from wildfire smoke

BY: - July 18, 2023

Millions of American workers have breathed in dangerous levels of air pollution this year as smoke from Canada’s record wildfire season blankets cities across the Northeast. Now experts are calling on federal regulators to adopt standards protecting outdoor workers from worsening air quality, potentially modeled after the few states that have such standards, including California […]

Wildfire danger ‘abnormally high’ as Fourth of July approaches

BY: - June 30, 2023

With much of Washington parched after an unusually dry spring, state officials are warning people to think twice before setting off fireworks this Fourth of July weekend. “We urge people to first use alternatives, safe alternatives that don’t involve fireworks,” said state Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz. “But with fireworks involved, please make sure you’re […]

Summer wildfire threat could imperil unexpected US regions: the Northeast and Midwest

BY: - June 29, 2023

WASHINGTON — In a summer of drought, smoke and haze, wildfires could flare up in unusual locations in the United States over the next few months — including New England and the Midwest, according to federal forecasters. “The predominant threat looks to be the Northeast, which is not normal,” said Jim Karels, the fire director […]

Two insurers cutting back in California. Is Washington next?

BY: - June 20, 2023

Two major insurers that stopped issuing new homeowners policies in California are showing no signs of doing the same in Washington, for now. State Farm General Insurance Co. last month ceased accepting new applications, saying the decision was due to  “historic increases in construction costs outpacing inflation, rapidly growing catastrophe exposure and a challenging reinsurance […]

On a record day in D.C. for smoke pollution, U.S. Senate panel debates wildfire strategy

BY: - June 8, 2023

As smoke from Canadian wildfires caused the most hazardous air conditions on record in the Washington, D.C., area on Thursday, members of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee said that Congress should lift federal firefighter pay and encourage logging to reduce the risk of future blazes. “Smoke from the wildfires burning right now […]