wildfire

As the U.S. Forest Service prepares for the wildfire season, it must also confront COVID-19.

Already the agency's put a stop to prescribed burning. And it says it will continue fire suppression and other activities with guidance from the CDC.

The U.S. Forest Service is rethinking how it employs firefighters.

An image showing plumes of smoke billowing across the Mountain West.
NOAA

About one-third of Americans live in areas that regularly have unhealthy levels of air pollution, according to a new analysis out this week from Environment America, an organization of state-based environmental advocacy groups throughout the country.

Researchers from a number of states, including Idaho, Colorado and Nevada, have found that grazing does not help get rid of cheatgrass, a highly flammable weed. 

Bree Zender / KUNR Public Radio

With this past winter storm, prescribed burn season is ramping up in Northern Nevada and throughout the Sierra. 

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.

Wildfire smoke crosses the U.S. on jetstream
NASA

For much of the last decade, air pollution was decreasing. But it’s now on the rise, particularly in the West.

That’s according to a recent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research. It found that between 2016 and 2018, the levels of fine particulate matter increased 11.5% in the West. California's been impacted the most.

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. 

Luke Flynt / Unsplash

Wildfires are a common part of life in our region. According to new research, they can also give scientists valuable information about the climate effects of another potential disaster: nuclear war.

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.

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