Washington Department of Natural Resources

Courtesy of Idaho Department of Lands

New fire statistics from the Washington Department of Natural Resources show lightning has played a much smaller role in causing fires this year than in the past.

 

The agency has just released its latest data that covers the January through August period for northeast Washington counties.

Washington Department of Natural Resources

A top Washington state lands official says wildland fire crews are doing a good job fighting fires under the constraints of a Covid-related physical distancing.

“There’s nothing that has said that Covid or mitigations around Covid have done that much to severely limit resources available," said Washington state forester George Geissler.

U.S. Forest Service

[This story will be updated throughout the day.]

The high winds from Monday have gone, but wildfires continue to burn in eastern Washington and northern Idaho.

Washington Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz tweeted this morning there are nine major fires burning in the Evergreen State. She says 58 fires have been ignited in the last 24 hours.

Grass Fire Burning Near Medical Lake

Aug 27, 2020
Guy Gregory/WA Department of Natural Resources

 

A wildfire burning in the Medical Lake area is threatening homes and has crossed over onto Fairchild Air Force Base.

 

Guy Gifford from the Washington Department of Natural Resources estimates more than 100 acres of brush, timber and grass have burned. He says the front of the fire is still spreading.

 

Officials have ordered a level three evacuation for homeowners in the area. That’s the most urgent level.

Wildfire Burns 25 Acres On Spokane's West Plains

Aug 14, 2020
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

A grass fire near Spokane International Airport today [Friday] has burned about 25 acres, sending smoke into the city.

Guy Gifford from the Washington Department of Natural Resources says the fire charred an area bounded by Grove Road and Sunset Highway.

Spokane Fire Agencies Impose Outdoor Burn Bans

Jul 20, 2020
Jacob Frank/National Park Service

With the arrival of hot weather Spokane county officials are now banning most open fires.

 

It's been a long time coming, but with temperatures in the 90s this week.

Officials, such as Spokane Valley Fire Marshal Greg Rogers, say it's time for a ban on many types of outdoor burning.

Courtesy of Idaho Department of Lands

Washington Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz says the agency is planning for a different kind of wildfire season.

“There is no manual that is written on how do you keep your firefighters safe within the context of this pandemic. They fight fires. They’re eating, sleeping, living and fighting those fires in close quarters," Franz said.

WA Wildfire Season Already Active; Covid Complicates It

May 14, 2020
Washington Department of Natural Resources

Washington state land managers say the wildfire season is already far more active than in normal years.

The Department of Natural Resources reports 263 fires, as of Tuesday. That’s about two-and-a-half times the usual rate for this time of year.

Washington Department of Natural Resources

Washington Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz has unveiled a Plan for Climate Resilience for the state.

Franz’s plan proposes a range of ways Washington can protect itself from the effects of climate change. That includes a strategy Franz has been vocal about: using timber harvests and controlled burns on state forest lands to prevent the frequency and intensity of wildfire.

Washington Department of Natural Resources

Wildfire prevention will be a prominent part of the Washington legislature’s agenda in 2020. Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz is proposing the state create a new Wildfire Prevention and Preparedness Account.

“Every year, on average, we’re spending about $153 million just to respond to fires," Franz said. "The fact is we will not be able to change the trajectory we’re on of increasing wildfires throughout our state and the increasing cost of wildfires unless we start getting at the front end of the problem.”

She is proposing a surcharge on property and casualty insurance premiums.

Photo by Jennifer Roseman

The Washington Department of Natural Resources is making money these days by leasing land that is used for generating renewable energy.

The money raised goes to the state and school funding.

Department of Natural Resources

All the rain we expected this week is in direct contrast to last year, when Washington was dry and wildfires made the air the most hazardous in the nation because of the smoke.

Washington Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz says this year’s fire season has turned out much different than she anticipated back in the spring, when a record 54 fires had been reported by the second week of March.

Eastern Washington Fire Danger Level Elevated To Moderate

May 10, 2019
Jacob Frank/National Park Service

Washington state lands officials have warning people working and playing outdoors to be mindful of higher wildfire danger.

Today [Friday] they elevated the wildfire danger status in most of eastern and central Washington from low to moderate.

KOMO Television

 

The Washington Department of Natural Resources hopes the legislature will approve a larger budget for forest health and fire prevention.

The agency has put together its two-year budget wish list that will be presented to the governor and legislature in January.

Fire Crews Prep for Wildfire Season

Jun 9, 2017
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Wildfire season has begun in the Inland Northwest.

The Spokane area hasn’t yet seen any major fires, but crews from several Spokane County fire departments know it’s only a matter of time. They’re practicing how they’ll react when they get the call. This week they’ve been holding drills on a hilly, forested residential lot in the south valley.

Inland Journal, June 8, 2017

Jun 8, 2017

This week on Inland Journal, we’ll talk with Spokane-area firefighters who are training this week for the summer wildfire season. There may finally be consensus to designate a stunning mountainous area along the Idaho-Montana border as wilderness. We’ll talk with a one-armed western Washington man who recently brought a personal message about workforce safety to Spokane area high schools. And Steve Jackson will take us to Felts Field for a showing of vintage airplanes.