Lesley McClurg/CPR

The recent Valley Fire, north of Napa, scorched more than 75,000 acres and destroyed nearly 1,300 homes. Thousands of people were displaced. Imagine if you were one of them, you lost everything but were scared to ask for help. 

That’s the reality for many undocumented families in the area.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife

September has been lovely and largely free of smoke around the region.  The excessively smoky conditions of August, caused by wildfires, are behind us. 

But more smoke arrives with fall: smoke from prescribed burns regulated by the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF). 

200,000 acres are burned each year, and ODF might increase that total, to avoid dealing with wildfires later. 

Michael Richardson/Wikimedia

Fire and water both figure prominently in the state of the forests in our region. 

The size and intensity of fires indicates and determines forest health, and so does the health of native fish. 

So it seems natural to talk fire and water together... scientists Dominick DellaSala of Geos Institute and Jack Williams of Trout Unlimited join forces to talk about forests from their perspective this week at ScienceWorks in Ashland (September 24th). 

Stouts Creek Fire Facebook Page

How hot a wildfire burns can determine which bird species show up when the fire is over. 

That's the basic finding of a ten-year study that focused on fire effects on bird populations after the Quartz Fire of 2001 on the Oregon side. 

The Klamath Bird Observatory's science director, Jaime Stephens, is the lead author of the study. 

Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest

Forests have a way of regenerating after devastating fires.

Human-built amenities in or near the forests take a bit of time and attention.

The Biscuit Fire burned through the Kalmiopsis Wilderness in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest 13 years ago.

And it was just recently that members of the Siskiyou Mountain Club completed the rebuilding of a trail through the burn area.


Imagine the danger in fighting wildland fires.

Now imagine fighting wildland fires AFTER jumping out of an airplane. 

Jason Ramos does it for a living, and tells his story in the book Smokejumper

Kari Greer | California Interagency Incident Management Team

Fire season has already begun, with the usual discussions of which fires are burning where, and how big.

Scientist Dominick DellaSala of the GEOS Institute is less concerned with individual fires than with the overall approach to wildfire. 

We know fire is a normal part of life processes in any forest. 

But it may be that even the more intense fires--the ones often labeled "catastrophic"--are natural and necessary. 

Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest

The flurry of lightning-caused fires from earlier this week continues to keep firefighters employed.  Meanwhile, parts of the region are shifting the official fire danger level to HIGH.

Douglas Forest Protective Association

Five days into fire season on the Oregon side, crews stayed busy hunting and fighting fires caused by lightning on Monday and Tuesday (June 8th-9th).

Oregon Department of Forestry reports roughly two dozen fires from lightning strikes in the southwestern part of the state. 

Geoffrey Riley/JPR

A series of lightning storms swept through the region starting early Tuesday, waking up Rogue Valley residents and keeping firefighters busy looking for new fires.

Loud thunder rumbled Ashland-area homes just after 4 AM, accompanied by brief but heavy rain.

Getting Even Fire Wiser In Ashland

Apr 10, 2015

Ashland, built on forested hills, has always been especially vulnerable to wildfire.

11 homes were lost in the Oak Knoll fire of five years ago, and firefighters are determined to minimize the risk of a future such fire.

So several sections of town have been designated "Firewise" communities.

More than in any other city in the country, we're told.

Lomakatsi Restoration Project

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.  The City of Ashland does not want a hot fire to burn across the mountain side that provides its water, and it's impossible to prevent all fires. 

So the city and partners are thinning and burning the watershed in the Ashland Forest Resiliency Stewardship Project to reduce fire fuels. 

The project is now five years old, and a recent federal grant will allow it to continue and expand. 

KQED San Francisco

The fires are cold, but the scars remain.

Several fires burned large swaths of the Klamath National Forest during the summer and fall of 2014.

Now the Forest Service proposes rehabilitation projects in those areas: The Westside Fire Recovery Project.

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement is out and comments are open until the middle of April.


Count on a lot of comments on the Westside Fire Recovery Project in the Klamath National Forest.

The project would involve salvage logging and other activities in three major areas burned by fires in the summer of 2014.

We talked to the forest bosses in a previous segment; now we hear the concerns of KS Wild and other conservation groups.


The concept of "fire season" has become more fluid over the years, particularly in California. 

Unusually warm weather with little precipitation means parts of the state are prone to wildfire year-round. 

Assembly member Brian Dahle, who represents much of the North end of the state, wants to reduce fire danger and provide fuel for biomass power generation. 

That involves reducing the fuel loads in the forests of the Sierra Nevada, which involves cutting at least some trees. 

Teaching Wildland Fire Prevention Young

Mar 3, 2015
FEMA/Public Domain

Wildland firefighting agencies frequently stress the importance of protecting rural homes from fire by clearing out "defensible space." 

So why not get the message across to a younger audience? 

Ruch School in the Applegate Valley plans to join with community partners to make the school grounds more fire resistant, with students taking part in the process. 

Money For Oregon Residential Fuel Reduction

Jan 13, 2015
NW Fire Blog

Forestry workers on both sides of the state line give constant reminders about the value of clearing away potential fire fuels on rural property. 

The whole concept of "defensible space" means putting that space between a rural home and the possibility of destruction. 

So the Oregon Department of Forestry offers some financial incentives to reduce fuels. 

Smokejumping Into History

Dec 29, 2014
Forest Service/Public Domain

The idea of jumping out of a plane to fight a forest fire sounds hazardous (it is), but it has a long history. 

Long enough to be commemorated in a museum. 

The Siskiyou Smokejumper Base in Cave Junction operated for decades, closing in 1980. 

Now it's a museum, restored to its 1950 appearance, with additional protections from the federal government. 

Coexistence With Wildfire

Nov 19, 2014

The recent report on coexistence with wildfire may bring you up short. 

For one thing, it points out the big differences between our approaches to wildfire and other disasters. 

We gird against earthquakes and coastal storms, for example, but don't try to stop them. 

The attitude toward fire is different, and generally does not involve urging people to build homes farther from fire zones. 

Restoring Weed After The Boles Fire

Sep 26, 2014
Courtesy of Cal Fire

The best thing that can be said about the Boles fire sweeping through Weed on September 15 is that nobody died or suffered a serious injury. 

But losing 148 homes is not an event from which a community recovers overnight. 

There's a long road ahead before the lost homes are rebuilt, and the community will bear a permanent scar.