Washington’s Department of Natural Resources says fire agencies around the state have already responded to more than 250 wildfires this year. They say that’s several times more than usual this early in the season.
This spring, Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz has her agency focused on preventing fires and minimizing their severity. On Friday, she went to Reflection Lake, near Elk in north Spokane County, to launch a new wildfire prevention campaign.
“Why we’re here today is because we believe that our communities that are on the front lines of these wildfires can do something to make a change, to help ensure their families, their neighborhoods, our firefighters and our communities are safe," she said.
The Wildfire Ready Neighbors program connects fire agencies with homeowners to give them advice about fire proofing homes and residential acreage.
“That’ll allow us to get out on that micro level, stop talking about the problem in Olympia and in other venues and get out there to our taxpayers and provide that value-added service on that micro level to solve that problem," said Jack Cates, the chief of Spokane County Fire District 9.
Fire preparedness professionals will be available to make no-cost assessments of homes, especially in wooded areas, that are vulnerable to wildfires. You can visit wildfireready.com to receive information and sign up.
The Washington Department of Natural Resources has also established "wildfire ready" programs in Chelan and Okanogan counties this spring.