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Andy Porter

Stories by Andy

Crews keep lid on Grizzly Bear Complex Fire through weekend

In spite of dry, hot weather over the weekend, fire crews kept the Grizzly Bear Complex Fire inside its perimeter, fire officials said today.

Fire along Columbia River scorches more than 15 square miles

A fast-moving wildfire Sunday scorched more than 9,700 acres west and south of Wallula Junction in precipitous hills and cliffs along the Columbia River.

Crews repair firefighting damage after Grizzly Bear blaze

As crews continue work on lines ringing the Grizzly Bear Complex Fire, efforts to repair damage due to firefighting activities is starting to ramp up, officials said today.

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Corps of Engineers signs off on levee tree, shrub removal

A plan to remove trees and shrubs along a section of the Mill Creek levee system below Rooks Park took a step ahead Wednesday. But opponents’ plans to fight the project are in the works.

Rain, snow help in Grizzly Bear fire effort

Although rain and snow over the weekend helped stop the growth of the Grizzly Bear Complex Fire, fire officials said today the blaze is far from out.

Hot August concludes on cool note

It was the eighth month in a row with below-average precipitation.

Couple’s gift to benefit Fort Walla Walla

A local couple’s last wish promises to have a major impact on preserving Walla Walla’s past.

Mother Nature lends a hand to firefighters

Rain and snow weighed in on the side of firefighters working on the Grizzly Bear Complex Fire southeast of Dayton.

More rain expected to dampen wildfires

Something that hasn’t been seen in quite a while is forecast to arrive at the Grizzly Bear Complex Fire this weekend.

Tucannon Fire declared completely contained

The Tucannon Fire east of Dayton was declared 100 percent contained today while crews continued to gain ground on the larger Grizzly Bear Complex Fire.

Autumn-like weather cools area blazes

Aided by unseasonably cool weather, firefighters made major advances Tuesday on the Tucannon Fire about 20 miles east of Dayton. Control of the 116-square-mile Grizzly Bear Complex Fire southeast of Dayton and burning into Oregon also progressed.

Penitentiary units remain on lockdown after major brawl

Four living units at the Washington State Penitentiary remained on lockdown today following a major fight Monday night.

Another major fight breaks out at penitentiary

Four units at the Washington State Penitentiary’s West Complex were on lockdown today after the second major fight in a week broke out Monday night.

Firefighters continue to make headway on wildfires

Monday was the first day of school for the small town of Troy, Ore., which had been evacuated for nearly two weeks due to the Grizzly Bear Complex Fire.

Firefighters getting handle on conflagration

Mother Nature gave firefighters on the 2½-week-old Grizzly Bear Complex blaze a break over the weekend.

Winds drive Tucannon Fire to 2,700-plus acres

The Tucannon Fire, has grown to about 2,700 acres today after erupting Saturday morning about 20 miles east of Dayton.

Weather risks loom for Grizzly Bear firefighters

Firefighters working on the Grizzly Bear Complex Fire could face a new hazard Saturday as shifting, gusty winds blow in from the coast.

Touchet irrigation district to appeal state fine

An irrigation district that draws water from the Touchet River plans to appeal a major fine levied against it recently by the state Department of Ecology.

Winds help clear smoke from, spread Grizzly Bear fire

Light winds Wednesday provided a good news-bad news scenario for the Grizzly Bear Complex Fire.

Cold front may help with Grizzly Bear fire effort

Although flames breached the Wenaha River in Oregon Monday, firefighters were able to stop the Grizzly Bear Complex fire from spreading as they continued to work on containment lines today.

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Grizzly Bear fire surpasses 100 square miles

More than 600 firefighters are now working to contain the Grizzly Bear Complex Fire, which has grown to cover more than 102 square miles.

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Wine crush starts unseasonably early

A mild winter, warm spring and hot summer are yielding the earliest harvest in memory for Washington state’s wine growers.

Candidate officially out of College Place School Board race

An election for one of the seats on the College Place School Board has been fixed, but in a good way.

Sides spar at hearing on Walla Walla pot grow sites

Two entrepreneurs hoping to operate marijuana growing facilities in Walla Walla’s Eastgate area put their cases before the city’s hearing examiner Thursday.

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Grizzly Bear Complex Fire doubles in breezy blowup

Driven by gusting winds, the Grizzly Bear Complex Fire doubled in size Thursday forcing the evacuation of three rural communities.

Out-of-district candidate quits College Place School Board race

COLLEGE PLACE — A candidate for a seat on the College Place School Board has dropped out of the race because he does not live in the school district.

Grizzly Bear fire crosses into Oregon

The Grizzly Bear Complex fire burning in the Blue Mountains miles southeast of Dayton has expanded to 12,000 acres, fire officials said today.

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Friends, foes of pot grows to weigh in at hearing

Two marijuana growing operations proposed for Isaacs Avenue will be up for review by the city of Walla Walla hearing examiner Thursday.

Walla Walla County to send services building to auction

A building bought five years ago with hopes it would become a center for community social services is headed for the auction block.

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Residents grill Corps on levee-clearing plan

Community members Wednesday posed a bevy of skeptical questions about a proposed plan to remove trees and shrubs along a section of levees lining Mill Creek.

City opts for lower-cost water treatment system

City Council members voted Wednesday to change plans for how Walla Walla’s drinking water will be purified in coming years.

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Weedery push to open called ‘craven effort’

An entrepreneur hoping to fast-track the opening of a marijuana store in Walla Walla was an apparent no-show at a City Council workshop Monday.

Weather expected to be fair for Stopover

In terms of weather, Gentlemen of the Road fans are predicted to hit the jackpot this weekend.

Meeting set on plan to clear Mill Creek levees of vegetation

A public meeting will be held Wednesday to present information and take comments on a plan to clear trees and brush from levees along a section of Mill Creek.

County adopts one-stop system for homeless aid

An improved system to help homeless people find a way off the streets has debuted.

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Officials: Blue Creek Fire sparked by farm equipment

The Blue Creek Fire, which burned more than 9 square miles east of Walla Walla, was started by “equipment use during a wheat harvest,” state officials confirmed Monday.

County to consider changes to BnB regs

The Walla Walla County Planning Commission will hold a workshop Wednesday on proposed changes to bed-and-breakfast guesthouse regulations.

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July continues hot, dry streak for Walla Walla

July continued this year’s trend of record-setting heat, clocking in as the fourth-hottest one on record, the National Weather Service reported today.

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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.