Wildfires

2:59am

Tue August 26, 2014
Around the Nation

Bigger, Faster Air Tankers Help Forest Service Tackle Wildfires

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 9:47 am

A DC-10 firefighting aircraft drops fire retardant in northern California in 2008. As the Forest Service expands and modernizes its fleet of air tankers, it has recently added several DC-10s.
David McNew Getty Images

In the battle against wildfires, the Forest Service often draws on a fleet of air tankers — planes that drop fire retardant from the sky.

But the fleet shrank dramatically in the early 2000s, and by 2012, the Forest Service was woefully low on planes. Now, the agency is quickly increasing the number of planes at its disposal — and modernizing the fleet in the process by adding bigger, faster and more efficient planes.

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3:15pm

Mon August 18, 2014
Environment

One Year After Calif. Rim Fire, Debate Simmers Over Forest Recovery

Originally published on Mon August 18, 2014 5:40 pm

Maria Benech of the U.S. Forest Service surveys a severely burned patch of forest. Almost 40 percent of the burned area looks similar.
Lauren Sommer KQED

Eric Knapp breaks apart a burned pine cone, looking for seeds — in his line of work this is considered a clue.

"Going into an area after a fire, you almost feel like CSI, you know, sleuthing," Knapp says.

He is standing in a part of the Stanislaus National Forest that was severely burned by the Rim Fire. Knapp, an ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service, is studying how forests recover.

"It's completely dead," he says. "These trees won't be coming back to life."

A lot of the forest was charred like this.

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9:50am

Sat August 2, 2014
Wildfires

Colorado Homes Most Vulnerable To Wildfires

The Black Forest Fire was the most destructive in Colorado's history.
Credit USDA / inciweb.org

Colorado residents are more vulnerable than any other state in U.S. when it comes to potential damage or destruction from wildfires, with 83,174 homes located in areas with high-severity risk.

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5:07pm

Wed July 30, 2014
It's All Politics

As Wildfires Burn Through Funds, Washington Seeks New Way To Pay

A line of fire snakes along a hillside at dusk on July 18 in Winthrop, Wash., where a fire destroyed about 100 homes. Officials say that fire damage, overall, is down this summer, but that firefighting costs are skyrocketing.
Elaine Thompson AP

Though wildfires this summer have burned hundreds of homes and scorched thousands of square miles of land in Washington, Oregon and California, officials say that so far, this wildfire season could be worse.

But the cost of fighting those fires has skyrocketed, and the Obama administration and some in Congress say it's time to rethink how those dollars are spent.

In places like central Washington, watching the evening news has recently not been for the faint of heart, with daily broadcasts chronicling evacuations of local towns with the approach of "firestorms."

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3:54pm

Tue July 8, 2014
Wildfires

Wet Weather Dampens Colorado Fire Season, For Now

The Reservoir Road Fire outside Loveland, Colorado in 2012.
Nathan Heffel KUNC

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