Liam Moriarty

News Director

Liam Moriarty has been covering news in the Pacific Northwest for more than 25 years. He's reported on a wide range of topics – including politics, the environment, business, social issues and more – for newspapers, magazines, public radio and digital platforms.  Liam was JPR News Director from 2002 to 2005, reporting and producing the Jefferson Daily regional news magazine. After covering the environment in Seattle, then reporting on European issues from France, he returned to JPR in 2013 to cover the stories and issues that are important to the people of Southern Oregon and Northern California. Liam was promoted to JPR News Director on May 1, 2019.

For reporters in southern Oregon and northern California, late summer to early fall has traditionally been “fire season.” In the newsroom, nobody gets to take vacation between July 15 and September 15; it’s all hands on deck.

That often means long days in the field and long days on the phone, tracking down the latest updates on the fires affecting JPR listeners. 

Craig Hyatt via OPB

Police tried to shoot a cougar on the campus of Southern Oregon University in Ashland Sunday night. This is the latest in an escalating series of cougar sightings in town. 


Jamie Dannen/BLM

A Congressmember from Utah is renewing his efforts to undo a ban on mining near several pristine waterways in southwest Oregon.  And federal lawmakers from Oregon are once again pushing back. 


By Ewen Denney via Wikipedia

Federal scientists have updated their assessment of the threat posed by the nation’s volcanos. It turns out 11 of the 18 volcanos rated at the “Very High” threat level are in Oregon, California and Washington.

Liam Moriarty/JPR News

West Coast businesses that depend on the summertime tourist dollar took a big hit from this years’ wildfires and smoke.

The same thing happened last year. And two years before that. Now, the idea that smoky summers may become the norm is beginning to take hold, and tourist operators -- and the towns that rely on them -- are looking for ways to adapt.


Oregon’s Third Senate District encompasses roughly the southern half of Jackson County, from Medford to the California line. It’s also a district that could determine whether the state’s Democratic legislators get the super-majority that would enable them to pass spending measures without Republican votes.

The two candidates for the seat met in a town hall-style forum Thursday night sponsored by Southern Oregon University and Jefferson Public Radio.


GREG N -- @GREGNOEL ON TWITTER, VIA THE VANCOUVER SUN

UPDATE: THURSDAY, OCT. 11, 4:30 p.m. -- Utilities in Oregon and Washington have told their customers they can resume normal use of natural gas. They'd asked users to conserve yesterday, after a pipeline in Canada exploded, disrupting the flow of gas to much of the Northwest. The blast disrupted natural gas deliveries from British Columbia to southern Oregon.

Steve Boutcher, courtesy Wilderness.net, 3155 via the Oregon Encyclopedia

An “on-again-off-again” proposal for a nickel mine in southwest Oregon is on again. And members of both Oregon’s and California’s congressional delegations have written to federal officials to demand the lawmakers be kept in the loop.


webcam

Increasingly, wildfires and the smoke they cause are becoming the daily reality of summer in southern Oregon and northern California. On Saturday, several hundred people gathered at Southern Oregon University to hear a series of panel discussions on how local communities could respond.

Liam Moriarty.JPR News

In late July, the Carr fire swept through parts of Redding, California and the surrounding area. Now, residents are faced with burned hillsides and more than a thousand home sites contaminated with toxic ash. What are the potential environmental impacts? JPR’s Liam Moriarty went to find out.


Liam Moriarty/JPR News

Many residents of southern Oregon and northern California are into their seventh week of poor air quality. Oregon Senator Ron Wyden is proposing a bill that would help people pay for temporary housing to escape unhealthy air from wildfire smoke. 

Liam Moriarty/JPR NEws

Last month, the Carr Fire forced nearly 40,000 people to flee their homes in Redding and the surrounding area. More than a thousand homes were destroyed and many businesses took a major hit. Now, as the smoke literally begins to clear, residents are dealing with the economic fallout of the disaster.


Oregon Considers Changing Smoke Rules

Aug 30, 2018
Geoffrey Riley

Oregon is considering changes to how it regulates smoke. The idea is to make it easier to use intentionally-set wildland fires – called “prescribed fires.”  

By burning off brush and woody debris at times of the year when fire danger is low, land managers hope to reduce the dry fuels that can stoke large wildfires. It’s those fires that have been causing most of the smoke we’ve been choking on for weeks now.

JPR’s Liam Moriarty spoke EarthFix reporter Jes Burns, who’s been covering the story.  

April Ehrlich/JPR News


The Carr Fire in northern California has slowed, as it moves past the city of Redding into rural areas to the north and west. As some evacuated residents are allowed back into their neighborhoods, they tell harrowing stories of panicked escapes, homes lost and lives changed forever.

Liam Moriarty/JPR NEws

When disasters strike, access to food is a top priority. With thousands still displaced by the Carr fire near Redding, the volunteer chefs of World Central Kitchen believe canned soup and bologna sandwiches aren’t enough.


Liam Moriarty/JPR News

A procession of fire trucks and other emergency vehicles filed through the streets of Redding Thursday, accompanying the body of a firefighter who died in the Carr Fire.


Liam Moriarty/JPR News

Crews have largely tamed the Klamathon fire, which burned 36,500 acres in northern California and southern Oregon over the past week. The fire is 65 percent contained and the area has seen minimal fire behavior since Tuesday.

The fire perimeter hasn’t grown for three days and only a relatively small area of rugged terrain remains without containment lines. Mark Brown is Chief of Operations for CalFire Team 4. At what was described as the final public briefing on the Klamathon fire, Brown said the incident is winding down.

Fire managers have expressed cautious optimism that they will be able to continue making progress against the Klamathon fire in the coming days.

UPDATE: Sunday July 8, 8:45 p.m. ... Crews continue to battle the Klamathon fire along the Oregon-California border. 

As of Sunday evening, the fire had burned 35,000 acres and was 25 percent contained. 

Oregon DOT

Updated July 6, 9:11 a.m. Pacific Time

One person has died in Siskiyou County during the Klamathon Fire, reports CalFire. The agency has not released a name as it investigates the incident and notifies the person's relatives.  

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