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.

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.  

Just when you think Washington, DC can't get any more exciting, a Supreme Court justice retires and roils the town. 

Anthony Kennedy's departure and replacement is the hot topic in the Senate, which will confirm the replacement. 

Democrats have little say in the process, but they do have opinions.  Both of Oregon's senators (and California's) are Democrats; Sen. Ron Wyden offers his perspective in a swing through Southern Oregon. 

One point: Wyden says not all power resides in Washington. 

USDA Forest Service

The US Forest Service has just released a new science report that will guide how National Forests are managed in the Pacific Northwest.

Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images, John Cox via

The grim scenario California Republicans feared -- that they'd have to choose between two Democrats for California governor this fall -- has been averted. Republican businessman John Cox finished second behind Democrat Gavin Newsom in a crowded field of candidates from both parties.

Andrew Nixon/Capital Public Radio

California voters have given thumbs-up to four ballot propositions but shot down another. 

Here's the rundown, with 95 percent of the precincts reporting ...

Proposition 68 is a bond measure slated to put about $4 billion into parks, wastewater recyling, river protections and similar public works projects.

Supporters said the money would help catch up on a repair and maintenance backlog in state parks, as well as help prepare for future droughts.

Opponents said the measure was too costly, especially when interest on the bonds is factored in.

Liam Moriarty/JPR News

Managers at the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest are weighing how much of the area burned in Oregon’s largest fire last year should be salvage logged.

But while harvesting partially burned trees will put cash in local pockets, the forest health and fire safety benefits that proponents claim are more elusive.

Jes Burns / EarthFix

This was aired on NPR's All Things Considered on May 27, 2018


Now we're going to hear how parts of the West are preparing for wildfire season. Fire managers have already started to set what are called prescribed burns - fires that are set intentionally in a controlled area. The idea is to clear the forest so that if fires spark up over the summer, there's less fuel to burn.


Republicans in southwest Oregon are hoping that “fifth time’s the charm” for candidate Art Robinson.

Jes Burns / EarthFix

There’s broad agreement that fire plays a vital role in forest ecology in the West. Many of our problems with severe wildfires can be traced, at least in part, to a century of putting fires out, rather than letting them clean up excess forest fuels.

Now, there’s a need to deliberately set controlled fires to help re-establish a more natural fire pattern. 

But after a summer in which residents and tourists alike choked on foul air and many events were canceled due to heavy smoke, are people ready to put up with more smoke from prescribed burns?


The US Forest Service is proposing to log trees killed or damaged in last year’s Chetco Bar fire.