Disasters and Accidents

Disasters and Accidents

Colin Murphey / Daily Astorian

A former Navy landing ship commissioned during World War II could come to the rescue when a big Cascadia earthquake hits someday. A group based in Astoria, Oregon, envisions a new role in disaster relief for the storied vessel Salvage Chief.

Kevin Galvin / FEMA News

The State of Washington has completed its first statewide inventory of buildings prone to crumble or collapse in an earthquake. The bottom line: There are an awful lot of unreinforced, old brick or stone buildings that could be dangerous  — a similar number to estimates in Oregon.

Schwede66 via Wikimedia Commons - tinyurl.com/ycfsul7z

Thousands of old brick, stone and concrete buildings in the Pacific Northwest could crumble in the next strong earthquake. To face that challenge, measures pending in the Oregon and Washington legislatures would set up grant programs to help owners of dangerous buildings make seismic safety upgrades.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network, 2014

Washington state may soon copy a rural wildfire fighting strategy that Oregon, Idaho and Nevada already employ: letting private ranchers attack range fires before the blazes get big.

Washington State Patrol

It's been almost one year since an Amtrak Cascades train derailed near DuPont, Washington. The crash killed three passengers and injured more than 60, including drivers on adjacent Interstate 5. 

KUOW photo/Kjerstin Wood

The state of Oregon has set an ambitious goal to prepare more families in earthquake country to be "two weeks ready" after a disaster. Washington's emergency management agency is also seeking more funding to prepare people in a similar way. 

InciWeb

Washington Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz is asking the state legislature to nearly double funding to manage and respond to wildfire.

Tom Banse / NW News Network

Horror tales from recent earthquakes overseas are moving people in Seattle, Portland and along the Pacific Northwest coast to give a crap about where to crap after a major earthquake.

It's not something we typically discuss in polite company, but disaster planners say that when water and sewage service fails, finding a place to poop is a big deal.

OSU

Construction is underway on the Oregon coast for a new earthquake-hardened marine science building. It will have Oregon's first tsunami vertical evacuation refuge on the roof.

Inciweb

Wildfire activity in the American West is likely to get worse in coming years. A new study out in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences points to the lack of precipitation in the summer as the major driving factor when it comes to increasing fire severity.

https://airtractor.com/aircraft/at-802f-fire-boss/ / Air Tractor

On Tuesday afternoon, a water-scooping airplane working a fire in northeastern Washington state crashed. The pilot walked away with minor injuries.

It’s an Air Tractor 802, also known as a Fire Boss -- it looks like a crop duster on floats. It scooped 800 gallons of water from the Columbia River and was on its way to the Horns Mountain Fire when it went down.

airnow.gov

Fires across the region have blanketed the Northwest in smoke. Blazes in California and British Columbia are also adding to the thick, reddish-gray haze.  

Inciweb - tinyurl.com/y9lbvuyc

  It was a wild weekend for wildfire in the Northwest. A cold front brought lightning and high winds -- but no rain -- to the region east of the Cascades already plagued by extremely dry conditions.

 

Emily Schwing / Northwest News Network

As hot weather continues to plague the Northwest, officials are on the lookout for heat-related illnesses among wildland firefighters.

At an early morning briefing for the Silver Lake fire outside Spokane, Operations Chief Cody Montgomery gives a reminder.

“So, let’s keep hydrated, a whole lot of water, a little bit of Gatorade,” he told crew leaders.

Inciweb - tinyurl.com/y9lbvuyc

The National Guard is gearing up to help fight wildfire in eastern Washington, and Gov. Jay Inslee has declared a state-wide emergency.

Oregon Department of Forestry

From Bend, Oregon, to Ellensburg, Washington, there is a fire weather watch Friday for hot temperatures, low humidity and breezy weather.

Washington DNR

A large wildfire is burning outside of Naches, in central Washington state. The fire, called the Conrad Fire, started Sunday afternoon. It’s currently estimated at 5,200 acres and about 20 percent contained.

Benton County Fire District 4

Residents of Prosser, Washington, were told to prepare to evacuate last night as fire spread in the hills above the city. 

About 150 firefighters worked all night to fight what is now being called the Montecito Fire which erupted Wednesday evening. 

Liz Roll / FEMA News

After years of debate, the Portland City Council on Wednesday took a big step towards making the city’s old brick buildings more earthquake-safe.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Ocean Shores, Washington, has no natural high ground inside its city limits. On Tuesday night, residents will meet with government and university experts to discuss whether to build a tsunami evacuation platform as in a few other Northwest coastal towns.

Roger Harnack / Inciweb - tinyurl.com/ydfc3bfe

Firefighters scrambled Sunday night at the Hanford nuclear reservation to corral a 2,800-acre wildfire. Hanford officials said the wildfire started Sunday evening.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

This story has been updated.

A tail-rotor failure likely led to the crash of a helicopter at the Olympia airport Friday. The pilot and a mechanic on board were both taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Nancy Kroll

In an earthquake or wildfire or other disaster, you typically can’t bring your animals with you into a shelter. This is a reason why some people choose not to evacuate when they ought to.

Some Northwest localities have volunteer “Animals in Disaster” teams to handle pet rescue, preparedness and emergency sheltering tasks. Cannon Beach is the latest to establish one.

Courtesy Washington DFW

A rare cougar attack east of Seattle left one bicyclist dead and another seriously injured over the weekend.

Emily Schwing/Northwest News Network

A week ago, forecasters were predicting the Okanogan River might crest this weekend near a record flood mark set back in 1972. Now, emergency managers are moving into “defense mode” and are now predicting somewhat lower water levels.

Okanogan Old-Timers Recall The Valley's Flood History

May 18, 2018
Emily Schwing / Northwest News Network

Residents of the Okanogan Valley have been battling floodwaters for more than a week. But floods are not a new thing here. There have been two major floods in previous decades.

Emily Schwing / Northwest News Network

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning in Okanogan County as slow moving storms could bring heavy rain to the region. 
Eleven rivers in north central and eastern Washington state are already near flood stage or higher.

Emily Schwing / n

Emergency crews have been preparing for high water in Washington state's Okanogan Valley since early in the month. The Okanogan River hasn’t even crested yet, but they’re already starting to think about what happens when the flood is over.

Emily Schwing / Northwest News Network

Emergency management officials are trying to protect drinking water systems throughout the Okanogan Valley from flood water contamination.

Emily Schwing/Northwest News Network

Crews with the Washington Department of Transportation have been working for two days to fortify a stretch of U.S. Highway 97 threatened by the rising Okanogan River.

A few days ago, there were a few small piles of sandbags, some cones and a sign warned drivers to slow down at Milepost 313.

Now, traffic is whittled down to a single lane as crews work to spread piles of sand along the shoulder on both sides of the road. Small, brown sandbags line the roadsides. A front loader moves massive piles of giant white sandbags that are each half the size of a small station wagon.

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