Best of the West: Historic Nevada wildfire scorches sage grouse terrain; western watershed case studies; Hawaii teachers learn to code

Wildfires, The West

The Western Governors' Association keeps you updated on news of the West. Here are the western stories for the week starting July 16, 2018, that you don't want to miss.

Across the West, more than 40 wildfires have prompted evacuations and emergency declarations in Nevada, Oregon, California, Colorado and other states.  

The Martin Fire in Nevada, the largest wildfire in the U.S. this season and the biggest in state history, was 95% contained by Wednesday, July 18. The fire scorched 435,596 acres, devastating sage grouse and sagebrush habitat, which could take up to a decade to recover.  

More than 150 wildfires are burning in Oregon alone, where Gov. Kate Brown issued an emergency declaration in response to the Substation Fire. In the eastern part of the state, an unlikely tool is being tested for its ability to reseed fire-damaged rangelands: a pasta machine.

Firefighters are battling difficult conditions at the Ferguson Fire burning near Yosemite National Park in California. One firefighter has been killed, and two injured so far.

Throughout Colorado, more than 175,000 acres have burned this season, and temperatures in the triple digits could contribute to fire growth.

Get a Room: Summer occupancy rates are high this season across the West. According to Hotel Business, the northwest “posted a significant jump in the number of sales, led by increased transactions in Idaho and Montana. In Colorado, rates are holding steady, but wildfires could impact tourism numbers.

Western Approaches to Watershed Management: Best practices for balancing the needs for clean drinking water, recreation and economic development in municipal watersheds is the subject of a recent report by Headwaters Economics. Read takeaways from case studies from towns in Montana, Utah and Washington that may be applicable to other communities.

Back to School: Hawaii teachers are enhancing their skills by learning to code through a summer program. The initiative aims to reach 500 teachers annually and teaches lessons that can be implemented in the classroom.

Road to Recovery: The black-footed ferret, once thought to be extinct, continues to make a comeback in Wyoming. Groups of the animals have been bred in captivity to bolster their numbers, and a third and final planned release is scheduled for this fall.

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