Courtesy of Dave Tragethon / Mount Hood Meadows

Late Monday night, Sept. 14, a fire sparked alongside the winding mountain highway that leads to White Pass, a ski area about 15 miles east of Packwood, Washington.

The fire started a few miles east of White Pass, in steep terrain. A ski area employee traveling U.S. Highway 12 spotted the early flames and reported it.

Washington Secretary of State's Office

As President Donald Trump intensifies his attacks on the security of vote-by-mail, county auditors and state election officials sought Friday to reassure voters the state of Washington is well prepared to pull off the 2020 vote-by-mail election.

However, those reassurances were also tempered by ongoing concerns about the United States Postal Service’s capacity to deliver and process ballots in a timely manner.

Jessica Robinson / NW News Network

When fast-moving fires spread through Washington's Okanogan and Douglas counties over Labor Day weekend, the flames threatened the town of Bridgeport, forcing more than 200 farmworkers to spend a night sleeping outside in a city park in nearby Brewster. 

Paula Soto, whose family lives in Bridgeport, says many were not prepared for a wildfire.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Last May, opponents of Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay home order staged a “Hazardous Liberty” rally on the campus of the Washington Capitol. Guns outnumbered masks as speaker after speaker – mostly Republican officeholders and candidates – decried Inslee’s response to the pandemic as monarchical and an assault on individual freedom.

The sign–and-flag-waving crowd cheered the speakers as they lambasted Inslee. But one speaker in particular seemed to have attained a kind of celebrity status among many in the crowd.   

“I think you know who’s coming, doncha,” boomed the emcee. “No introduction needed: Sheriff Loren Culp.”

Washington Dept. of Agriculture

Correction, Sept. 18, 2020: A word to describe the amount of apples brought by Gov. Jay Inslee has been changed in this story to better reflect the amount of apples. The word "box" is now used instead of "bin." A "bin" of apples is a more technical industry term that is much larger than the actual number of apples in question.

Gov. Jay Inslee’s well-intentioned gesture of western Washington apples sent a detective hunting down the fruit in three counties this week.

Molly Solomon / OPB 2019

The first Native American woman elected to the Washington State House of Representatives says she is drafting legislation to retire Native-themed mascots and team names at public schools. This has been a goal of Native American leaders for a while, but has new-found momentum in the wake of the Washington, DC, NFL football team’s name change.

Pacific NW Team 2 IMT

Well, the weather didn’t pan out as forecasters had hoped. That means smoke should stick around until the end of this week. And, it’s not only the skies that are choked with the unhealthy levels of smoke.

“The cleanest air in (Washington) right now is unhealthy, and everybody else is very unhealthy or hazardous,” said Lauren Jenks, Washington Department of Health assistant secretary for environmental public health. 

Courtesy of Brandon Hazenberg

With at least two dozen Oregon dairies threatened by raging wildfires, farmers are grappling with the delicate task of moving them to safer ground — or staying put.  

Willamette Valley dairyman Brandon Hazenberg of St. Paul, Oregon, has been hauling feed and bedding, and offering up his dairy as a landing pad for those in need. 

Courtesy of Kim Grewe-Powell

Widespread wildfires across the Northwest are causing owners to evacuate more than 2,000 pets and livestock into fairgrounds, friends’ properties and even across state lines. 

At the Oregon State Fairgrounds, in Salem, there are at least 500 animals evacuated: horses, sheep, goats, dogs, cats, chickens, birds and even a tortoise. 

GIS Surfer/

Usually, fire season starts to tamp down in September. This year has been anything but normal. In an unprecedented fire event, at least 80 fires started in Washington over Labor Day weekend.

Strong winds and extremely dry vegetation made for extreme fire danger throughout the Northwest.

“It’s a brutal combination of all of the above,” Washington Department of Natural Resources fire meteorologist Josh Clark said. “If there was a box to check, I would just say all of the above.”