Disasters and Accidents

Disasters and Accidents

Oregon State Police

RICHLAND, Wash. – Two Korean tourists who were visiting family in Bothell, Washington are the latest victims to be identified in that deadly bus crash in northeast Oregon. Police say Sunday’s accident east of Pendleton was Oregon’s deadliest crash since 1971. Among the dead were 67-year-old Jung Oun Hong and his 63-year-old wife, Kim Joong Wha of Korea.

Lieutenant Gregg Hastings with the Oregon State Police says there are some real challenges in identifying the victims quickly for waiting families.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Most of the tsunami warning sirens in one Oregon coastal county will go silent in the New Year. Communities up and down the West Coast are phasing in more modern forms of emergency alerts.

After much debate, Tillamook County leaders decided they could not justify the expense of modernizing and maintaining an aging network of 30 tsunami warning sirens. County emergency management director Gordon McCraw says there are many other pathways for people to hear about incoming danger.

Staff Sgt. Jason van Mourik / Oregon Military Department Public Affairs

SALEM, Ore. – The state of Oregon is at odds with the federal government over how to use money from Japan meant for cleaning up tsunami debris. It can’t be used to reimburse the state for money it’s already spent.

The Japanese government donated $5 million to the US this fall to help pay for the cost of cleaning up debris from last year’s deadly tsunami. But Oregon hasn't seen a penny of that money so far.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

A massive fire that burned 61 homes in Central Washington was likely caused by Department of Transportation contractors. That’s the upshot of a report issued Monday by Washington’s Department of Natural Resources.

The aptly named Taylor Bridge Fire started August 13 right after transportation contractors did some welding work on that bridge. It happened near the mountain town of Cle Elum.

IFRC

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Chances are, you've heard the public service announcements that say "It's up to you to be ready. Get a kit. Make a plan..."

For years, emergency managers have urged people to stockpile enough food, water and supplies to last 72 hours after a disaster. In the Northwest, basic assumptions like that are now under scrutiny, especially when it comes to the risk from a big earthquake. Two committees in Oregon and Washington have been working for more than a year to come up with wide-ranging recommendations to improve the region's disaster resilience.

The persistent smoke from wildfires has gotten so bad in the Wenatchee and Ellensburg areas that county health departments are telling everyone to stay indoors if possible. Firefighters continue to defend rural homes and subdivisions on the east slopes of the Cascades. Containment of the numerous wildfires there appears a long ways off.

CLE ELUM, Wash. – Cle Elum, Washington is the type of town where people smile and nod in the supermarket parking lot –- even if you’re a stranger. This week the close-knit mountain community has been battling a more than 22-thousand-acre wildfire. The blaze has displaced many residents.

The blaze has had firefighters evacuating people and pets –- sometimes just in time. At least 60 structures, including homes and cabins, have been burned down. Many stock animals have been evacuated to the nearby Ellensburg Rodeo Grounds.

Northwest Wildfires Could Become More Common

Aug 21, 2012

CLE ELUM, Wash. – Fire crews continue to fight wildfires in central Washington, south and central Oregon and southern Idaho. Some residents of Cle Elum and Ellensburg, Washington are just trying to get back home. Others don’t have a home to come back to. Forestry experts say these types of large wildfires could become more common across the West in the coming years. Correspondent Anna King has this story from the scene of the Taylor Bridge fire.

Emergency managers in central Washington have started to collect damage reports from businesses and homeowners affected by this week's destructive wildfire. That's a prerequisite to apply for federal disaster assistance. State fire investigators have established that the Taylor Bridge Fire was human-caused.

Washington's Department of Natural Resources is leading the effort to put out the sprawling Kittitas County wildfire. As a matter of policy, the agency seeks to recover its costs from a responsible party.

CLE ELUM, Wash. - Firefighters on the scene of a destructive wildfire in central Washington are hoping to make major progress Wednesday toward containment of the blaze. The Kittitas County sheriff's office estimates more than 70 homes and cabins have been destroyed. The fire has chased hundreds of people from their homes.

Sarah Baeckler had very little notice a fast moving wildfire was bearing down on the non-profit she runs. Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest takes in chimps who've retired from biomedical research.

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