Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "wildfires" ...

  • Fighting The Wrong Fires

    OPB’s science and environment team spent a year analyzing government data, reviewing scientific literature and interviewing more than 100 people to find out why firefighting costs have soared and why, 30 years after its scientists first raised red flags, the U.S. Forest Service continues to risk lives and waste millions of dollars fighting fires it doesn't need to fight.
  • Tons of Questions

    After wildfires destroyed 365 homes in San Diego, the city rushed to enter contracts with two companies to haul away mounds of potentially toxic debris. The Union-Tribune investigated and found that the contractors, A.J. Diani Construction C. of Santa Maria and Watsonville-based Granite Construction Co., claimed to haul far more rubble than privately hired companies did from comparable lots, failed to provide accurate documentation of how many tons they removed and billed the city millions more than stated in their contracts.
  • Wildfires' Echoes: Developing in the Danger Zone

    The authors looked at where new single-family home building permits were issued in the wake of the 2003 wildfires in San Bernadino and Riverside counties. The investigation revealed that several thousand permits were issued in areas considered a high fire threat.
  • Up in Smoke

    This investigation showed that firefighting systems are overburdened nation-wide. The reporter examined the Forest Service's accounts and found that money was grossly mismanaged -- she shows how system abuse contributes to both the high price of firefighting and also the ineffectiveness of firefighting systems. The reporter uses a recent fire in Lincoln, MT as an example to illustrate the flaws of the system.
  • 'Red Zone' Residents Feel Heat

    Wildfires in Colorado are posing a larger threat to people in recent years. In the 1990s, so many people moved into the dense forests of the state that it now holds almost 1 million people. The amount of people in this dangerous region makes it more difficult for fire fighters to do their job.
  • Fire Tents

    A CBS News investigation discovers that "the US Forest Service had consistently ignored calls to revamp its standard-issue fire shelter," which had contributed to the deaths of several fire-fighters in recent years. The story reports on the efforts of a fire shelter designer, whose brother firefighter died inside a shelter, to convince the federal authorities to try out a new superior shelter. A major finding is that one of the deceased firefighters from the 2001 Thirty Mile Fire in Washington state died from inhaling fumes produced in result of the melting of the interior of the fire shelter.
  • Feeling the Heat

    National Journal looks at the governmental policy in fighting wildfires. "The nation's forests have become unnaturally - and dangerously - overgrown as a result of 100 years of overly aggressive fire suppression," reports the magazine. The story follows the battle between "environmental advocates who want to preserve the ecological values of the forests and timber industry supporters who are pushing for more logging on federal funds." The report includes statistics on the number of fires and the burned forests acreage in the 1990s.
  • Wind and Fire

    The News Tribune looks at the aftermath of a recent windstorm that blew down millions of Minnesota's oldest trees. The downed trees have created the perfect conditions for wildfires that could become bigger than any in the state's recent history.
  • Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.) reveals that not only the severity of the fire but also human error contributed to the tremendous damage of a series of California wildfires; city councils placed politics over public safety, senior state officials did not understand their own emergency directives, requests for critical air support go lost in the chain of command, October - December 1993.
  • BEFORE THE FLAMES

    KXLY-TV (Spokane, Wash.) reports on the culpability overhead electrical power lines that were allowed to be overgrown had in a series of wildfires around the Spokane area, Aug. 12 - 14, 1992.