wildfire

Senators from Colorado and Nevada are among those sponsoring a bill aimed at reducing firefighters’ exposure to potentially harmful chemicals. 

Earlier this month the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee unanimously approved the bill, which aims to protect firefighters from being exposed to a group of chemicals known as PFAS that are found in firefighting foams and gear.

Bree Zender / KUNR Public Radio

Researchers say forest fires are typically good for rebooting the health of forests, but a new study published in the journal Ecosphere says that high-intensity wildfires are dramatically changing the plant habitat structure of forests in the Sierra Nevada. 

A new study suggests huge fire blankets can help protect homes during wildfires.

Our region is leading the way on training helicopter pilots to fight fires at night.  There are costs and hazards involved but the move could also help firefighters get the most threatening blazes under control more quickly.

Taboose Fire Outside Bishop: What We Know

Sep 9, 2019
US Forest Service - Inyo National Forest

Editor's Note: As of 09/12/19, KUNR has stopped actively updating this web post. The U.S. Forest Service-Inyo National Forest is providing regular updates on Facebook.

 

09/11/2019 10:45 PM

 

The Taboose Fire is nearly 9,400 acres and is 47 percent contained. An evacuation order remains in place for Baxter Ranch, and evacuation advisories are still active for Aberdeen and Birch Creek. 

09/10/2019 5:05 PM:

#HungryFire: 100% Contained

Sep 9, 2019
Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District via Twitter

09/11/2019 10:45 PM:

The Hungry Fire in Spanish Springs is fully contained at 305 acres, according to the Bureau of Land Management. 

09/10/2019 5:05 PM:

The Nevada Bureau of Land Management is reporting the Hungry Fire, burning near Spanish Springs, has burned 300 acres and is at 30% containment.  Both ground crews and air support fought the fire Tuesday afternoon.

 

09/10/2019 12:30 PM:

Bree Zender

Note: Fire officials say mandatory evacuations for Milford area have been lifted, but area residents should be prepared to evacuate if needed. Other mandatory evacuation orders remain intact.

The Walker Fire continues to burn south of Susanville.

It’s charred nearly 44,000 acres and has been 7 percent contained, making it the biggest wildfire in California so far this year.

KUNR’s Bree Zender visited some of those who have been displaced by the evacuation orders to find out how they are adjusting. 

InciWeb

Editor's note: As of 9/13/2019, KUNR has stopped actively updating this web post. The U.S. Forest Service-Plumas National Forest is providing regular updates on Facebook.

09/12/2019 at 10:00 PM:

The burn area for the Walker Fire has grown to 49,272 acres, with 32 percent containment.

09/11/2019 at 10:45 PM:

Drones are increasingly being used to study the effects of wildfires. This drone is collecting data from a large prescribed burn earlier this year at the Fishlake National Forest in Utah.
Desert Research Institute

From more intense wildfires to prolonged droughts, climate change is impacting the ecology of the American West. That’s got researchers in our region looking at a new way to fight some of these impacts: drones.

A shot of a prescribed burn taking place earlier this year at the Fishlake National Forest in Utah.
Desert Research Institute

A recent study says the American West should be doing more prescribed burns to keep forests healthy and to help lessen the impacts of wildfires across our region. It also concluded that there needs to be a change in how we perceive the practice out here for that to happen.

Wildfires are still burning across the Mountain West, but far fewer than in the last few years.


Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) speak with reporters, along with California Governor Gavin Newsom and Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak.
Bree Zender

During Tuesday’s annual Tahoe Summit, big political names from Nevada and California touted Lake Tahoe’s clarity, and efforts to keep it clear.

However, this year, the focus shifted to the forests beyond the shores. 

Washington State Department of Natural Resources / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The Bureau of Land Management is proposing 11,000 miles of fuel breaks throughout our region to help combat the spread of wildfires.

Bree Zender, KUNR Public Radio

Bree Zender

Sierra Nevada snowpacks have been melting faster and faster in recent years, fueled by the effects of climate change. But a new study says that forest fires are also fueling this trend.

Climate change is becoming a reality. According to NASA, over the next century, our planet is likely going to see some pretty significant changes. We’re already seeing rising sea levels due to the melting ice caps, along with storms that are stronger and more frequent.

For people living in the American West, the snowpack is becoming less predictable. Summers are longer and hotter, and severe droughts are pushing us to become more reliant on water reserves. Perhaps most notably, those hotter, drier summers are resulting in more and more wildfires.

Smoke and burned trees from a wildfire
Photo by Joanne Francis on Unsplash

The ecosystems of the American West are under threat from climate change. Analysis by the Bureau of Land Management says areas like the Great Basin are particularly susceptible, with invasive species, increasing temperatures and years of extreme drought, putting the country’s largest desert at risk. 

Bree Zender

The 35-day government shutdown in late December and January halted federal wildfire preparations throughout the country. For the Sierra Nevada, KUNR found that there were key burn opportunities that were missed in that period. In some areas, prescribed burn opportunities won’t happen until later in the spring, because there’s simply too much snow. 

Bree Zender

California Governor Gavin Newsom recently declared a state of emergency and called on the National Guard to speed up forest management ahead of the upcoming wildfire season.

In the Sierra Nevada, federal forest management officials are behind on prescribed fire treatments due to the 35-day partial federal government shutdown, which was followed by a historic snowfall. 

Bree Zender

Hundreds of researchers agree that climate change is going to alter the way we will live in the coming decades. Every few years, the U.S. Global Change Research Program releases a National Climate Assessment, a comprehensive look into how the country's climate has changed, and what could be ahead.

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