Disasters and Accidents

Disasters and Accidents

InciWeb. Mile Marker 28 Fire near Goldendale, Wash.

Over the weekend the wildfire burning near Goldendale, in southeast Washington, grew to more than 20,000 acres.

Firefighters are battling flames in grass, brush and timber. So far, no homes have burned, but the fire has closed a highway that runs between the towns of Toppenish and Goldendale.

The blaze called the Mile Marker 28 fire is moving toward the town of Bickelton, Washington and is about 25 percent contained. More than 1,200 firefighters are working about 78 miles of fire line.

Steve Derry is a fire crew chief. He was just getting ready to head back out.

Washington Incident Management Team #2/ InciWeb. A column of smoke rises from the Mile Marker 28 Fire near Goldendale, Wash.

A wildfire near Goldendale, Washington is blackening grasslands, shrubs and forests along Highway 97. It’s called the Mile Marker 28 Fire.

About 30 homes have been evacuated so far.

“As of the last information we have, no structures have been lost. So it’s still in a precautionary mode, says Randy Shepard, an information officer on the fire. "But given the nature of the fire, we didn’t want to get anyone too close to the fire.”

The fire started on Wednesday, but the cause is still unknown. Much of the active blaze is on Yakama Nation land.

Julia Flucht. Kristi Finney speaks to a class of reckless drivers about her son, Dustin (right), who was killed by a drunk driver.

Distracted driving is a big problem everywhere. All three Northwest states ban texting behind the wheel. Oregon lawmakers just doubled the fine for that.

Traffic schools address the problem but studies show they are not very effective in changing the behavior of drivers. A program in Portland takes a different approach. It uses trauma nurses and car accident victims to teach lessons for the road.

People come to Trauma Nurses Talk Tough with their own expectations.

National Interagency Fire Center

The loss of 19 firefighters in Arizona is sending a chill through the firefighting community in the Northwest. Fire season is about to begin here -- ushered in by a heat wave sweeping the region.

Word spread fast among wildland firefighters in the Northwest. “We are saddened but [must] honor our fallen by continuing with the job at hand,” wrote the hotshot crew out of Union, Ore., on Facebook.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Traffic is rolling across the repaired Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River Wednesday morning, marking the end of  a hasty, round-the-clock salvage and reconstruction job.

Work started less than four weeks ago, when an oversize load brought down the vital bridge.  Northwest Washington drivers and businesses are relishing a return to normal.

USGS

The earthquake and tsunami threat to the Northwest from the offshore Cascadia fault was in the news in multiple ways Thursday. Canadian researchers have reconstructed a prehistoric record of great earthquakes on that shared fault. It reconfirms that we're due for another Big One.

Coincidentally in Oregon, tsunami preparedness is getting a renewed look.

WSDOT

Just prior to the I-5 bridge collapse Thursday night north of Seattle, eyewitnesses report an oversized load struck a portion of the bridge’s steel superstructure. That’s the frame that’s key to holding the bridge up.

The I-5 bridge over the Skagit River was built in 1955. It’s a truss style structure. Bridge engineer Stanley Ryter says all that steel above.

"Think of it as a 16 ft tall beam and if any part of that breaks then you lose the ability to carry the load," Ryter says.

Mark Triplett / Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

The people overseeing the cleanup of the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster are learning some valuable lessons from the long-running cleanup at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. A Japanese government delegation recently toured some of the southeast Washington site.

In Japan, workers in gloves and masks are grinding down sidewalks and roads, wiping down rooftops and bagging contaminated soil. Now, the problem is where to put all that radioactive waste from Fukushima.

Boston Marathon Runner Races Again In Spokane

May 6, 2013
Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Three weeks after the Boston bombings, one of the iconic figures of that tragedy was racing again in Spokane. Bill Iffrig of Lake Stevens, Wash., joined more than 50,000 runners on Sunday for the Bloomsday Run. You might remember the images of Iffrig on the ground immediately following a blast at the Boston marathon.

The 78-year-old runner wore the same orange shirt he'd worn in Boston as he waited for the starting gun in Spokane.

Staff Sgt. Paul Clifford / US Air Force

The fate of the three crew members on board a crashed Air Force tanker is unknown as of Friday afternoon PDT. It's now night time in Kyrgyzstan where the Boeing-built K-C-135 tanker plane went down. Many airmen from Fairchild Air Force Base outside Spokane are deployed to the airfield in Central Asia where the plane took off.

The Associated Press quoted a farmer near the crash scene in rural Kyrgyzstan who said he heard an explosion in the sky. The witness said he looked up and saw fire as the falling jet broke apart in mid-air.

Pages