Eastern Washington Marks The Anniversary Of The 2020 Labor Day Firestorm

Sep 3, 2021

One year ago a wildfire roared through Malden, Washington, destroying about 80% of its buildings.
Credit Doug Nadvornick/SPR

This weekend marks the one year anniversary of the firestorm that burned most of the Whitman County town of Malden and hundreds of thousands of acres in eastern and central Washington.

State Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz told a group in Yakima Thursday that 70 fires were ignited during the first 36 hours of the weekend.

“As we approach the anniversary of the Labor Day firestorm we are all right now holding our breath and hoping that is not our reality again this year, especially given we still have a lot of work ahead," she said.
 
The conditions this year are different in some ways. The recent stretch of cooler, more humid weather has helped to calm an active fire season. But the terrain is still extremely dry and forecasters say we could still see gusty winds this weekend.
 
This year the Washington legislature approved a permanent funding source to raise millions of dollars each year to pay for wildfire prevention and suppression efforts.