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Andy Porter

Stories by Andy

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Many firefighters move on as fire reaches 'significant turning point'

Many of the hundreds of men and women who have been battling the Blue Creek Fire were packing their bags this morning.

Fire containment at 85 percent; cost nearing $10 million

Containment of the Blue Creek Fire is now at 85 percent today with the fire holding at 6,004 acres, fire officials said.

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Tour of burn zone gives a up-close look at Blue Creek Fire destruction

In many places, the mountain landscape appeared as if it had once been in a color photo that now has been turned black and white.

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Couple loses home, possessions and pets to Blue Creek Fire

When the Blue Creek Fire broke out on the early afternoon of July 20, Jean Hylton and her husband, Roy, were at work in Walla Walla.

Crews beef up Blue Creek Fire lines

The Blue Creek Fire remained at 73 percent contained today as crews work to solidify fire lines, particularly on the southern flanks near the Mill Creek Watershed that supplies Walla Walla’s municipal water.

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Fire official: Community support for fire crews 'overwhelming'

Local support for firefighters battling the Blue Creek Fire has been “overwhelming,” officials said Monday. But bees and wasps haven’t been happy.

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Crews rapidly gain ground on Blue Creek Fire

Crews rapidly gained more ground on the Blue Creek Fire Monday, pushing containment of the blaze to 73 percent today, up from 50 percent on Monday.

Bennington Lake reopens for watercraft use

The lake had been closed July 22 to allow firefighting helicopters to draft water from it.

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Blue Creek crews work to expand containment as hot weather looms

Helped by cooler weather over the weekend, firefighters continued to increase control of the Blue Creek Fire today. But the return of hot weather expected later this week is raising concerns.

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Updated: Containment of fire reaches past 70 percent

The battle against the Blue Creek Fire continued to take a positive turn as crews had the fire at 25 percent containment as of Saturday afternoon.

Corps asks for comment on plans to clear off Mill Creek

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is seeking comments on a plan to remove trees and shrubs along the Mill Creek levees.

Fire evacuation alerts reduced

The evacuation alert has been decreased today for several areas threatened by the Blue Creek Fire and one additional road closure was announced.

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Updated: Blue Creek Fire spreads, but containment increases

The Blue Creek Fire now covers 6,225 acres and is 25 percent contained, according to fire officials.

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Blaze, 5 percent contained, 'highest priority in the nation'

Fire officials have updated the size of the Blue Creek Fire to about 5,600 acres as of this morning.

Rural Library ousts executive director Morgan

The Walla Walla County Library District board has ended the employment of the district’s executive director.

Blue Creek fire uncontained, forces evacuations

Authorities today said the fire was human caused and is under investigation. A full update will be posted later this morning.

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Fish passage at Ice Harbor Dam anniversary celebrated

BURBANK — It’s a massive device with an odd name, and it has had a major impact on helping threatened salmon make their way to the sea.

Walla Walla County working toward sale of building on Kelley Place

Walla Walla County commissioners Monday started the process to sell the financially troubled Walla Walla County Community Service Center.

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As heatwave breaks, cooling brings lightning, flash flood threat

After weeks of 100-degree heat, a weather system moving into the Valley should lower temps into the 80s.

Walla Walla County burn ban extended indefinitely

The ban covers all burning, including agricultural, residential and recreational, as well as special burns.

City gets stormwater treatment grants

A stormwater filtration system and a new street sweeper to help stop pollutants from flowing into Mill Creek is in the works for the city of Walla Walla.

No local hits in federal order to fix fish-blocking culverts

Walla Walla and Columbia counties are not among those in Washington state affected by a federal court order to fix fish passage barriers.

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June sets all-time heat record

Summer, as anyone who’s been in the Walla Walla Valley in recent weeks knows, is off to a blazing start.

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Hiring, repairs underway as jail transitions to County

As Walla Walla County’s jail undergoes its first change in management authority since Washington state’s territorial days, officials are hiring staff and checking off items on a long list of repair and maintenance needs.

Heat pushes wheat to an early harvest

Dry, hot conditions have sparked an early start to this year’s harvests of winter wheat and peas.

College Place OKs rule for future fireworks bans

COLLEGE PLACE — Although a fireworks ban is off the table this year, the City Council voted Thursday to allow for one next year.

Wildfires scorch region

Fire crews today are battling a series of blazes in the Umatilla National Forest east of Walla Walla, among wildfires elsewhere in the region that broke out over a simmering weekend.

Temperature records fall in Walla Walla

A heat wave that arrived Friday has broken Walla Walla records for three days running.

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Heat blast could crimp blueberry harvest

Oregon blueberry growers are having one of the earliest harvests in decades, but an oncoming heat wave has pickers scrambling to save what they can from sun damage.

Searing temps spark health, fire warnings

As temperatures head into the hundreds and possibly the record books this weekend, health warnings and burn bans are in the air throughout the Walla Walla Valley.

Brawl injures three prison inmates

Two units at Washington State Penitentiary were on lockdown this morning after a large fight Wednesday injured three prisoners.

Corrections workers put on layoff notice

Washington State Penitentiary workers and local Community Corrections employees are among the thousands of state employees who have received notices they may be temporarily laid off if a new state budget isn’t adopted.

Weekend temps to top 100

Break out the sunblock and Gatorade. Baking-hot temperatures are due back in town by this weekend.

County coroner requests full-time deputy

Walla Walla County Coroner Richard Greenwood called on county commissioners Monday to add a full-time deputy coroner to his office.

College Place City Council appoints new councilmember

The City Council on Monday appointed Heather Schermann to fill the open Position 6 seat.

College Place to consider Council appointment

COLLEGE PLACE — The City Council may have two applicants to choose from tonight to fill a vacant Council seat.

Washington prison breaks short-lived

While there have been numerous escape attempts from Washington state prisons, there have apparently been almost none where the inmates made it far or remained free for long.

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Bomber flight takes woman back to WWII

Another person taking flight in a B-17 this week had a ground-eye view of World War II.

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WWII pilot back in the air in B-17 over Walla Walla

Before this week, the last time Allen Penrose was in a B-17 bomber was 70 years ago.

Walla Walla airport area streets cleared for golf carts

Walla Walla County commissioners Monday approved creation of a golf cart zone at Walla Walla Regional Airport.

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Panorama - Foot on the floor, dirt in my teeth!

It was pedal to the metal time at the Walla Walla County fairgrounds last week.

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WWII bomber tour to stop in Walla Walla

Three World War II bombers bound for Walla Walla made their first stop in Washington state Friday, touching down at the Tri-Cities Airport.

National Forest officials brace for fire season

Area area National Forest officials said Thursday they are anticipating a busier-than-normal fire season this year, starting next month and going through September.

Drones add to worries of wildfire fighters

The proliferation of drone aircraft have added a new dimension to the hazards of fighting wildfires, a U.S. Forest Service official said Thursday.

Walla Walla commissioners OK court fee surcharge

People filing cases in Walla Walla County District Court will soon be paying more to fund a service to mediate disputes instead of having them go before a judge.

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College Place might get fiber optics in street rebuild

A dark fiber with a potentially bright future will be included in a major rebuild of the city’s main roadways now underway.

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Hot weather settles in for Walla Walla area

Summer officially is still a few weeks away, but it’s already shoving spring off the stage.

Blackman retires, reluctantly, as sheriff’s sergeant

After more than three decades in law enforcement, Walla Walla County sheriff’s Sgt. Barry Blackman called it a career Friday.

Resignation opens seat on College Place City Council

COLLEGE PLACE — The resignation of a member has opened up a seat on the City Council.

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Extended lock closures planned for area dams

Starting late next year, major repairs of locks on Upper Columbia-Lower Snake river dams will shut down shipping for at least 14 weeks.