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On the eve of Smokey Bear’s 75th birthday, Ray Kresek says the origins of what he calls the world’s largest Smokey Bear collection – which exists in a crowded but neatly arranged room in the basement of his home on the far North Side of Spokane – can be traced back to 1950.
After three days and 11 miles, the Silver Lake fire that burned 340 acres along Interstate 90 near Cheney is nearly burnt out.
The worst of the Silver Lake fire burning along Interstate 90 near Cheney is likely over as residents return home and firefighters focus Tuesday on mopping up hotspots.
A fast-moving brush fire quickly grew to 100 acres and its smoke forced brief closures on Interstate 90 in both directions near the Cheney exit as fire officials called for the evacuations of up to 100 nearby homes.
The fires Oct. 16, 1991, which came collectively to be known as “Firestorm,” ravaged the Spokane area. Fueled by 60 mph winds and 41 days without rain, 92 separate blazes burned approximately 35,000 acres. More than 3,000 calls to 911 were received in 24 hours.
The Glenrose Prairie neighborhood southeast of Spokane is taking up arms against wildfires. In this case, the arms are mowers and chain saws, deployed during periods of cool and damp weather to remove brush and trees, lessening the risk that wildfire will spread to the homes.
Patches of red needles on the ponderosa pine trees caught Kent Moline’s attention as he hiked the bluff below High Drive on Spokane’s South Hill this spring. He knew the trees should have already shed their dead needles and “I wondered if it was a pine beetle outbreak,” said Moline, a board member for the nonprofit Friends of the Bluff.
Toppling trees at Riverside State Park is helping create a healthier forest of native ponderosa pines. The thinning project is also providing work experience for 50 inmates from Airway Heights Corrections Center while producing winter firewood for low-income families.