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Regional News

Washington's Wildfire Season Has Been Unusually Quiet So Far

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Courtesy of Idaho Department of Lands
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The wildfire season in Washington has, until now, been different than many state lands officials had predicted. 

Fire crews have responded to more than 600 fires this season, including this one.  That's more than the ten-year average. But the acreage burned, as of last week, was only about 7,400.

That compares favorably to the 2019 fire season, in which about 130,000 acres burned. That was a season that Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz called relatively light. Going in, she thought Washington had the highest wildfire risk in the country. The state saw a large number of fires early, many of them caused by yard burning gone awry.

 

“Things right now are better than we thought they were going to be because at the beginning of the season we were expected have the highest wildfire risk in the nation, and we started out with a pretty significant amount of fires, at one point more than double our ten-year average," Franz said.

But she says the cooler, wet weather at the beginning of the summer put a damper on the early fire season. On the down side, that cool weather meant a lot of vegetative growth. She says the wildfire situation could change rapidly.

“Last year we saw two significant fires in Grant County, one was 45,000 acres, the other 65,000 acres. So it can happen really quickly and you can go from few fires and not very large fires to very big fires," she said.

Because of the lack of big fires, air quality in Washington has been significantly better this summer.