Fresh news updates from the great outdoors.
High winds caused a billowing cloud of ash on Mount St. Helens on Thursday. Climbers and a passing aircraft reported the cloud and caused a temporary concern that the volcano had become active. Salem's Statesman Journal reporter Zach Urness, who was climbing the mountain at the time, reported on Thursday's event in the paper.
According to a recent report commissioned by the National Audubon Society, climate change will cause habitat losses and force migrations for approximately half of North America's bird species. Many will be driven to smaller habitats to cope with the effects changing weather patterns will have on their habitat. Scientists are uncertain how many of the bird species in question will adapt to the changes.
A fire that was started by lightning in mid-July in Yosemite Valley turned into a much larger conflagration last week. Reaching nearly 5,000 acres, the fire caused closures to many of the park's more popular spots, including access to the cabled route to Half Dome's summit. Firefighters were using minimally-invasive fire suppression tactics in accordance with the policies of the National Park Service for natural fires burning in National Parks and wilderness areas.
Night sky photographers and stargazers were greeted with a rare opportunity to view the aurora borealis in Oregon and Idaho this week. With clear skies, many people made last minute trips to their favorite late-night viewpoints. Unfortunately, the solar flare and corresponding coronal mass ejection ran its course before creating the necessary conditions for a low-latitude aurora to appear.
Fisherman recently caught what appeared to be wild Chinook salmon in a reservoir outside of Corvallis, Oregon. Considering the reservoir is landlocked, this caused the question of how the fish got there. After subsequent work by biologists, it was confirmed that the salmon were produced naturally by hatchery fish trapped in the reservoir, meaning the fish spawned without making a journey to and back from the ocean. Kokanee, a landlocked sockeye salmon, have been known to spawn this way, but this is the first instance of Chinook salmon doing the same.