Rain, winds scour out wildfire smoke, and Seattle air quality returns to normal
SEATTLE — After breathing more than a week’s worth of unhealthy air caused by wildfires, Western Washington residents were able to breathe clean air again Saturday morning after a rainstorm and westerly winds scoured out the smoke.Air quality monitors across the western side of the state displayed green dots, showing the air quality was good. Smoke forecasters said the east side of the state should clear up by late Saturday.“All the sensors, just about every single sensor in Western Washington, is good air quality, so that’s a relief,” Mike McFarland, meteorologist for the National Weather Ser...
The Seattle Times
'Unstoppable.' How the Bear fire erupted into a deadly disaster for tiny Berry Creek
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Bear fire looked like it would behave itself.It had been burning for three weeks in the Plumas National Forest, the result of a mid-August lightning strike, but hadn’t done any lethal damage. It was part of a complex of fires that was about 50% contained. Even a significant windstorm that threatened to push the fire across the middle fork of the Feather River didn’t seem like a major cause for alarm.All told, in the early morning hours of Sept. 8, the team managing the Bear fire appeared confident it could keep the fire under control. A team of firefighters on loan fro...
The Sacramento Bee
NJ Gov. Murphy signs environmental justice law designed to protect minority communities
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday signed environmental justice legislation that allows the state to deny permits for projects that would have an environmental impact on already “overburdened” communities, defined as those predominated by minority or low-income people.The law, which supporters say is one of the toughest in the nation, would apply to proposals for new or expanded power plants, recycling facilities, incinerators, sludge operations, sewage treatment plants, landfills, or any other major source of potential pollution.The state Department of Environmental Protection would review...
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Auto review: 2021 Subaru Crosstrek SUV powers up to take on new rivals
The Subaru Crosstrek didn’t leave a lot of room for improvement, but the 2021 model gets more power and better ride and handling. A new animal-free upholstery that delivers comfort and breathability also arrives to help the Crosstrek ward off a host of new competitors like the Chevrolet Trailblazer and Kia Seltos.Competition among subcompact SUVs has grown fierce since the Crosstrek arrived as one of the class’ pioneers in 2012. Smaller than popular SUVs like the Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape and Honda CR-V, the Crosstrek’s high seating position and standard all-wheel drive made it a hit, pav...
Detroit Free Press
Minn. man pleads guilty to poaching black bear on Red Lake reservation
MINNEAPOLIS — A Brainerd man pleaded guilty Thursday to illegally killing a 700-pound black bear while trespassing on the Red Lake Indian Reservation.Brett James Stimac, 41, entered the plea to misdemeanor wildlife trafficking and trespassing on Indian land after removing the head of the bear, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office for the District of Minnesota.Stimac shot the bear with a compound bow near a trash bin on Sept. 1, 2019. The bear ran away, but when Stimac found it the next day, he sawed off its head and paws to keep as trophies, the complaint said.Charges said Stimac couldn’t m...
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
Endangered wildlife, habitat burned in Washington's wildfires
SEATTLE — Entire wildlife areas have been destroyed and endangered populations of animals gravely depleted by wildfires burning in Eastern Washington.Much of the area burned east of the mountains included shrub-steppe habitat. The assemblage of sage and other plants is critical to the survival of the pygmy rabbit, sage grouse and sharp-tailed grouse.It is still the early days in understanding the extent of the damage from the fires and how it unfolded. But wildlife managers think the Pearl Hill fire may cause a population decline of anywhere from 30% to 70% in sage grouse, bringing the statewi...
The Seattle Times
Venezuela's Maduro accused of crimes against humanity
The Venezuelan regime led by Nicolas Maduro has committed “egregious violations” since 2014 “amounting to crimes against humanity,” a United Nations report published Wednesday says.The report by the U.N. Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Venezuela, which is investigating human rights violations, found several examples of extrajudicial killings, politically motivated detentions, torture and forced disappearances.“The Mission found reasonable grounds to believe that Venezuelan authorities and security forces have since 2014 planned and executed serious human rights violations, so...
Cargill joins regenerative agriculture movement, sets goal for 10 million acres
Regenerative agriculture has been gaining popularity in pockets of farming over the last several years, but now Cargill Inc., the world’s largest agribusiness, is pushing the phenomenon.The Minnetonka, Minn.-based company on Wednesday said it will help convert 10 million acres of row crop farmland in North America over a decade to regenerative practices, which are designed to improve soil biodiversity and reduce erosion and runoff.Cargill joins a growing list of U.S. corporations, including General Mills, that are backing regenerative agriculture as a solution to climate problems and depressed...
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
Commentary: Western wildfires could worsen inequality
Like so much else in 2020, the wildfires engulfing the western half of the United States are without precedent.They have advanced with astonishing speed, leaping 25 miles overnight and sending a towering pillar of smoke into the stratosphere. At this writing, the blazes have claimed at least three dozen lives, burned more than 5 million acres and forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes.The fires have also sparked a public health crisis. Much of the western U.S. and Canada is wreathed in acrid smoke, resulting in some of the world’s worst air quality. Wildfire smoke exacerbates ...
Tribune News Service
Ann McFeatters: Climate change is manmade evil
SEATTLE – If you are at all claustrophobic, seeing nothing but white smoke from the windows is unsettling. If you go outside, even a precious N95 mask unearthed from a dusty pile of paint cans and brushes is insufficient. Your lungs hurt. Your eyes burn.Worse, just a few miles away, is the unending destruction. Houses evaporated, leaving asymmetrical piles of ash. Hulks of cars not yet paid off beyond salvage. The forlorn, black hulk of a child’s tricycle, seat gone, overturned on its side. The sounds of inconsolable sobbing from parents who shudder at what comes next. The horror as realizatio...
Tribune News Service