wildfire risk washington state

Another one is in the planning. SIEGLER: This is Russ Vaagen. OK, in these times of sharp political divisions, we now bring you a story about bridging divides. After a rain, the smell of freshly cut wood hangs thick in the air. HILARY FRANZ: It sent a message to the marketplace.

SIEGLER: Environmentalist Mike Peterson (ph) is on board. VAAGEN: What we're seeing in front of us is cross-laminated timber and... SIEGLER: The idea behind cross-laminated timber is that you mill and glue the smaller wood together and turn it into big beams and lumber boards without having to cut down a bigger tree. SIEGLER: For the first time in decades, lumber mills like this are expanding.

Copyright © 2019 NPR. They don't get out on the ground. SIEGLER: It's what amounts to the morning rush in Colville, a small timber town sandwiched into the remote mountains near the Canadian border. The initiative signals a rare truce between loggers and environmentalists. MIKE PETERSON: I did tree-sits up here on the Colville National Forest, had some arrests and really protested because the logging, in our view - and it was out of control at that time. Thousands lost jobs. Because of climate change, Washington is at risk for more intense, severe wildfires.

SIEGLER: These kinds of compromises don't always make the headlines, but they're starting to happen, even in some of the most conservative parts of the Northwest, like this. She's helped enact an ambitious plan to thin and treat nearly 3 million acres of forest over the next 20 years. Or, click the logo or here to link to a full screen version. Click on icons to find current wildfire infomation. SIEGLER: Peterson says we have better science now, more of an agreement on what makes a healthy forest. Environmentalists are conceding they can't stop all logging, and the timber industry is realizing they can't just cut all the big trees that make the most money. As crews work to contain this summer's devastating wildfires, there is new scrutiny over how well state officials are managing the forests to reduce these dangers. That removes the biggest fire risk and turns them into a marketable product. We're committed to reducing the impacts of climate change, and to help our state's communities prepare for the impacts that cannot be avoided. FRANZ: I think leadership and leaders have to start really being able to lead and change the language that is used that is about division. ... risk for employee symptoms can increase. Everyone knows clear-cutting is bad, but putting out every fire or stopping all cutting is also bad, even dangerous. SIEGLER: But Russ Vaagen, the mill owner in Colville, sees it as a potential model for reviving rural economies. The state of Washington is moving to aggressively thin forests to reduce the worsening wildfire risk. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information. Now, what's different here - he's milling all the smaller-diameter younger trees that are densely packed into the forests. All rights reserved. This is a remarkable turn of events. We Insist: A Timeline Of Protest Music In 2020. VAAGEN: Well, I grew up here, and I lived here my whole life. Hundreds of mills closed. SUE RICHART: The fires have forced everyone to relook how they were doing things. And I've seen the growing urban-rural divide. SIEGLER: Two of these mills have opened in the past few months.

... Workers entitled to Washington State's paid sick leave protections may be entitled to use accrued paid sick leave to care for themselves or a family member whose health has been affected from exposure to wildfire smoke and/or high temperatures. She used to run a small logging company here with her husband. They ignited in rainforests. It said, if you want to invest in cross-laminating timber, you should come to Washington state 'cause we're going to guarantee you supply. VAAGEN: We're creating better, healthier forests that we're leaving out there, leaving the biggest and best trees behind to be in a natural spacing that would've been here, you know, had we not fought the wildfires or logged the forests in the past. As you drive up 395 through the Colville Valley, you'll see burned parts. RICHART: It's the large fires, which is totally frightening. But when you get down to it, people want what's best. SIEGLER: Sue Richart echoes a common local refrain. As the threat of wildfires worsens, environmentalists are joining forces with loggers in parts of the rural Northwest. We see it politically. Franz is that rare liberal politician from the Seattle area making inroads in conservative eastern Washington, where she's widely respected as someone who listens and follows through. The state of Washington's Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz considers it a win-win for the environment and the economy. SIEGLER: Vaagen says what's best is getting past the divisions and reducing the threat of wildfires.

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