Amid Fires, Downed Fences Make Good Neighbors

In the poem “Mending Wall,” Robert Frost lays down the well-worn quote, “Good fences make good neighbors.” In this year’s dramatic Northwest wildfires, ranchers and neighbors are cutting down “good fences” of all kinds.
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A new national study released this week indicates a shift in thinking when it comes to mental health. A majority of those surveyed say they value mental health and physical health equally. But Idaho remains one of the states with a high suicide rate, and low access to mental health care. Frankie Barnhill reports on how a new grant could help one nonprofit combat this problem.

The Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline welcomed news of a $100,000 grant this week. The money comes from the state’s division of veteran’s services, and will go toward the hotline’s operating budget.

Ashley Ahearn / KUOW/EarthFix

For more than a century, the snowmelt that fed the Dungeness River has provided water for farmers’ crops as well as for salmon journeying to the ocean and back.

It’s a system that’s worked well — except when there’s not enough water to go around. And now that this part of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula is caught up in the drought that’s afflicting much of the West, interest in building a new reservoir is on the rise. 

Seth Book / Skokomish Tribe Department of Natural Resources

Marine life is struggling to survive in the oxygen-starved waters of Hood Canal.

North America's highest mountain has a new name. Or rather, an old one. President Obama has announced that Alaska's Mount McKinley will now be called Denali, which is what natives call the peak.

Suppressing Wildfire May Cause More Severe Fires Long-Term, Say Researchers

Aug 31, 2015
Max Whittaker / Reuters

This policy of fire suppression is one the US has followed for over a century. Some scientists, however, are beginning to question this strategy. There is a growing consensus of researchers who believe suppressing forest fires might actually be causing more severe fires, and worsening climate change long-term.

Photos courtesy families of the firefighters.

Family, friends, and fellow firefighters gathered Sunday at a memorial for the three young men who were killed battling a blaze in North Central Washington.

InciWeb

Light rains and higher humidity helped firefighters slow the spread of wildfires burning in North Central Washington on Sunday. More favorable weather is expected this week.

Multiple times this summer, the sighting of a wayward hobbyist drone has grounded aerial firefighting aircraft at Western wildfires. But unmanned aircraft have the potential to be useful at wildfires too.

US National Weather Service Spokane Washington

A very bad scenario looks to play out Saturday when it comes to the weather and fires burning in North Central and Northeast Washington.

While the weather forecast looked promising Thursday in calling for rains to hit both regions, the newest prediction could not be worse when it comes to the wildfires.

Meteorologist Andy Brown of the National Weather Service in Spokane is calling for sustained winds of 30 to 40 mph Saturday, with gusts up to 50, and even higher gusts in the mountains.

This has been one of the worst — and most expensive — wildfire seasons ever in the Northwest, where climate change and a history of suppressing wildfires have created a dangerous buildup of fuels.

With fires burning hotter and more intense, there are renewed calls to change how the federal government pays to fight the biggest fires.

"These large and intense fires are a natural disaster in much the same way a hurricane or a tornado or a flood is," U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says. "And they ought to be funded as such through the emergency funding of FEMA."

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