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Burn ban on DNR forestland east of Cascades starts July 1

Burn ban on DNR forestland east of Cascades starts July 1

Another warning in the face of the upcoming Fourth of July weekend – the Washington State Department of Natural Resources has placed a burn ban on all DNR-protected land east of the Cascades.

Starting July 1 and running until September 30, the burn ban applies to all forestland under DNR fire protection.

“The seasonally dry weather creates a greater risk for wildfires,” said Commission of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “A burn ban helps to prevent them and protects forests, habitat and property.”

So far this year DNR has already had 172 wildfire starts, which have burned approximately 779 acres across the state.

The ban applies to all outdoor burning on DNR forestland with two exceptions:

Recreational fires in approved fire pits

Gas or propane stoves and barbecue grills

Fireworks and incendiary devices like exploding targets, sky lanterns or tracer ammunition are also illegal.

Washington sees largest growth in population since 2008

Washington sees largest growth in population since 2008

Is your neighborhood beginning to feel a little crowded? According to the Washington office of Financial Management, the state population has increased dramatically in the past year by an estimated 1.5 percent. That's 85,500 people!

Washington's population has been growing at an increasing rate, mostly due to migration. In 2013 the state saw a net gain of 49,200 people moving into the state, more than double the 21,600 from 2012.

Net migration accounts for 57 percent of the state's population growth this year, with natural increase (births minus deaths) responsible for the other 43 percent.

Seventy-five percent of the state's total population growth occurred in the five largest metropolitan counties: Clark, King, Pierce, Snohomish and Spokane who's economic activity continues to attract migrants.  

Lewiston man dies in weekend plane crash

A 29-year-old man died when the aircraft he was piloting crashed near a private landing strip south of Lewiston.

The Nez Perce County sheriff's office tells the Lewiston Tribune the victim was Bryce Winterbottom of Lewiston.

The single-seat aircraft crashed in a wheat field at about 8:15 a.m. Saturday. Winterbottom died at the scene.

Based on witness reports, the sheriff's office believes the plane crashed due to engine failure. A final determination has not been made.

Washington man dies in Idaho rafting accident

A 50-year-old Washington state man has drowned while on a Boy Scout-sponsored whitewater rafting trip on the Salmon River in western Idaho.

The Nez Perce County sheriff's office tells the Lewiston Tribune that Joseph R. Kane of Poulsbo, Washington, drowned Friday afternoon after he and his son were thrown from a raft.

The rafting guides recovered Kane's son and then found Kane floating face down. Cpl. Jerry Florence estimated Kane had been in the water for 10 to 15 minutes.

Raft guides and passengers performed CPR for an extended period of time until emergency responders arrived at about 1:15 p.m. Friday. Kane was pronounced dead at the hospital in Lewiston.

Capone murder trial delayed, judge excuses himself

Capone murder trial delayed, judge excuses himself

The murder trial of 52-year-old Charles A. Capone, who is charged with killing his estranged wife in April 2010, has been delayed.

The judge in the case excused himself Monday morning, pushing the trial back for possibly one month.

120 possible jurors from Latah County appeared at the courthouse early Monday, but were sent back home.

Capone is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Rachael Anderson of Clarkston, Washington.

Co-defendant David Stone has pleaded guilty to failure to notify a coroner or law enforcement officer about a death and has agreed to testify against Capone. He has told officials that he and Capone put Anderson's body in the Snake River.

Wildfire fighters train for the season

Wildfire fighters train for the season

Wildfire season is underway but what does it take to brave the front lines and fight those fires?

Stepping up to fight wildfires is a bold move.

"You pretty much dedicated your summer if you decide to do this," said Veronica Naccarato, wildfire fighter.

Not to mention the danger. Veronica Naccarato has been fighting fires for five seasons.

Friday she helped train more than 30 new firefighters.

"I started what's called a practice fire, just kind of gets them prepared for going out in a real life fire," said Naccarato.

The live burn exercise is the last part to a week long intensive training program.

Veteran firefighters say it is the most important test of the week.

"Live fire exercises at these guard schools are extremely important because once they leave here training is over and as soon as tomorrow they could be on an actual wildfire," said Josh Tellessen, wildfire fighter.

The trainees are from agencies throughout the area. Their ages range from 18 to 60, some are college students and others are just passionate about the environment, but now they all have the same goal.

Will recreational marijuana supply meet public's demand?

Will recreational marijuana supply meet public's demand?

Recreational marijuana is being grown right now and will hit retail store across Washington in early July but will there be enough to go around?

"This strain is called Train Wreck, it's being harvested today," said Scott O'Neil with Pacific Northwest Medical, as he trimmed a 12" long 1/4 lb. marijuana bud.

Right now O'Neil works in the medical marijuana field but in two weeks he'll be on his own.

"And we'll be selling recreational marijuana," O'Neil added.

He hopes his new store will be the first recreational marijuana store to open in Washington; O'Neil Industries, an authorized retailer of Kouchlock.

"We've secured product from a couple of vendors, definitely working on getting more. The product we have right now is probably going to last a couple days," said O'Neil.

O'Neil said some producers are already sold out for the next year and that's weeks before retail stores even open.

That supply will depend on how many growers can get up to speed in the next couple of months. In hopes of building clientele early O'Neil says he's going for as much variety as he can get his hands on.