Disasters and Accidents

Disasters and Accidents

Sun Valley Businesses Worry About Fire's Economic Impact

Aug 21, 2013
InciWeb. Map showing the progression of the Beaver Creek Fire

Businesses around Sun Valley, Idaho worry the massive Beaver Creek fire will have a big impact on the tourist-dependent economy of central Idaho. Several events have already been canceled because of the blaze.

This is the new worry by business owners. First of course was the threat of fire. And now there’s the threat of fire or at least the perceived threat of it will continue to keep away tourists through a really crucial part of their business cycle.

Crews Taking Offensive On Idaho's Beaver Creek Fire

Aug 20, 2013
InciWeb. The Beaver Creek Fire in Idaho is still a long way from being contained.

The estimated cost of fighting Idaho’s Beaver Creek Fire now tops more than $11 million. Fire crews near Sun Valley, Idaho say the blaze has become manageable but is a long way from contained.

The mood at Baker’s Spike camp has changed almost over night. There is now a feeling of optimism. Crews are feeling like they can take an offensive stance against the fire instead of a defensive one. They have enough resources now where they can plan ahead and anticipate where the fire might go next, while they’re also attacking the fire.

Colin Fogarty / Northwest News Network

Fire crews outside of The Dalles, Ore. are still trying to get a handle on a wildfire complex that’s destroyed two homes and five outbuildings. It’s burned more than 6,400 acres and is only 10 percent contained as of Tuesday afternoon.

The blazes are on steep terrain. That’s made it difficult for crews to make progress. In fact, they’ve lost some ground because of high winds.

Len DIaz, Washington Interagency Incident Management Team. Crews monitor burnout operations in the area of the Colockum Tarps Fire

With wildfires still raging across the Northwest, fire managers are turning to private fire-fighting crews in increasing numbers. One private industry group says private contractors are responsible for a surprising 40 percent of firefighters on the ground in the region.

Both the U.S. Forest Service and the Oregon Department of Forestry said that 40 percent figure sounds about right. But the shift didn't happen overnight.

InciWeb. Firefighters working on the Big Windy Fire raft down the Rogue River.

Rafters can once again try their luck shooting the rapids on a popular southern Oregon river.

The Rogue River re-opened to pleasure-seekers Monday after weekend rains tamped down some wildfires in the area. The nearly two-week closure was a major economic hit to businesses that specialize in river recreation.

Pete Wallstrom owns Momentum River Expeditions. He says his first guided trip down the Rogue won't be until Thursday as staffers try to get hold of people who canceled their trips.

InciWeb. Lightning at the Mile Post 10 Fire

Torrents of mud and debris have closed three roads near Wenatchee in central Washington. The landslides were caused by thunderstorms on Sunday, along with wildfire damage. The mudflows have hampered firefighting efforts on the Mile Post 10 fire, which has grown to 6,000 acres since Friday.

Some residents and fire trucks were stranded. Rick Isaacson is an information officer for Chelan Fire District 1. He says it’s been a pretty tough couple of weeks. “If I lived up there I’d be on vacation in Hawaii for about three weeks. And just leave it at that. If I could.”

Colin Fogarty / Northwest News Network

Much of Oregon's population would face extended fuel shortages, natural gas outages and blackouts after a catastrophic earthquake. That according to a seismic risk study re-released by the state.

But there's pushback from the energy companies put under the spotlight.

The Blue Mountain Eagle. The view from the Grant County Regional Airport of the Grouse Mountain Fire burning near John Day, Oregon.

Nearly a dozen wildfires continue to send up plumes of smoke across the Northwest.

Some of the large fires are under control including the Colockum Tarps fire at about 81,000 acres near Wenatchee, Washington.

But in southern Idaho, fires are ripping through timber and brush near Challis and near Mountain Home. That 30,000 acres complex of blazes closed U.S. Highway 20 and prompted evacuations for the small town of Prairie. People in Pine and Featherville, Idaho, are also being encouraged to leave.

Thunderstorms Expected To Spread Wildfires, Start More

Jul 31, 2013
Douglas Forest Protective Association.

Fire managers are bracing for a round of thunderstorms that could create erratic fire behavior across the Northwest. Storms are expected from Challis, Idaho, to Grants Pass, Ore., starting Wednesday.

Sarah Levy at the Northwest Coordination Center in Portland says in some places, firefighters are digging additional lines in anticipation. But then there's the other concern – that more fires will start.

Pacific NW Team 2 IMT. Smoke from the Big Windy Complex Fire near Galice, Oregon.

Smoke from wildfires is creating poor breathing conditions in parts of the Northwest.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality says the air has reached "very unhealthy" levels in parts of southwest Oregon. That's due to a series of wildfires that have led to some evacuations but so far have caused very little property damage.