Washington Department of Natural Resources

Washington Reopens State Recreation Lands

Sep 16, 2021
Courtesy of Washington State Parks Commission

Washington Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz has reopened all Department of Natural Resource lands east of the Cascade Mountains to the public.

Washington Department of Natural Resources

As wildfires have burned throughout the Northwest this summer, some forest stands have fared better than others. Managers say that’s thanks, in part, to thinning and prescribed burns, which have made the stands more resilient in the face of wildfire.

Washington Department of Natural Resources

Department of Natural Resource lands will be closed to the public from Friday until further notice due to the growing danger of wildfires.

Courtesy of National Interagency Fire Center

Cooler temperatures and a bit more humidity are expected to help Northwest firefighters for the next day or two. But the winds from the west that are moderating temperatures may also help spread flames and embers from existing fires.

Courtesy of Idaho Fire Map

Crews are making good progress on the Andrus Fire west of Spokane. Fire officials peg the size of that fire at 232 acres, down from about 300, as they’ve updated their mapping.

Meanwhile, several smaller wildfires have broken out all over eastern Washington and northern Idaho.

Despite increasing vaccinations and relaxation of COVID-19 regulations across the state, state wildland firefighters will still need to follow strict COVID-19 protocols.

The Department of Health says more than 67% of the state's population over age 16 is now vaccinated against Covid. And while that certainly includes many who work on DNR fire crews, currently DNR managers have no way to determine who that might be.

Courtesy of Jacob Frank, National Park Service

Crews battled several small wildfires around the Inland Northwest over the weekend, many of them burning dry brush and whipped up by brisk winds.

TheBackyardGnome.com

Spokane County fire officials today [Friday] announced countywide burn restrictions as the fire danger increases due to dry conditions and brisk winds.


Dry summers are not unusual, says Spokane Valley Fire Marshal Greg Rogers. What’s different this year is the timing.

Fire Districts Help Create "Wildfire Ready Neighbors"

May 25, 2021
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Washington's Department of Natural Resources is working with homeowners to reduce their exposure to wildfires.  


The Wildfire Ready Neighbors program is sending fire experts to rural areas to talk about specific ways property owners can make their homes safer.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Washington lands officials are emphasizing prevention at the beginning of what could be a busy wildfire season.

The Department of Natural Resources reports more than 250 wildfires so far this spring, most of them east of the Cascades. That’s well above normal for this time of the year.  

A residential community north of Spokane is among those signing on to a new state initiative aimed at minimizing damage caused by wildfires.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR


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.

Courtesy of Washington Department of Natural Resources

Washington state lands officials say they’re planning to diversify the tools they use to fight wildfires from the air.

On Tuesday the Department of Natural Resources held a demonstration in the skies over Moses Lake of a 747 that’s retrofitted to drop water or retardant on fires.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

The Washington House on Tuesday unanimously approved a wildfire prevention and forest health bill and sent it to the Senate.

Among other things, the bill would create a fund that would receive $125 million each biennium. That would pay for programs that help to make communities and forested areas less susceptible to wildfires, says Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz.

TVW screenshot

Last fall’s wildfires were invoked Friday at a hearing for a new forest health bill in the Washington legislature.

The bill is proposed at the request of Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz, who reminded members of a House committee that 2020 was the worst wildfire season in years in Washington.

Washington Department of Natural Resources

Washington’s Department of Natural Resources on Monday released an updated version of its statewide forest action plan. The plan is designed to help reduce the risk of wildfire over time and help the state adjust its forest management strategies to a changing climate.

TVW Video Voters' Guide

Washington State Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz is running for a second term. Franz is a Democrat. Her challenger is Republican Sue Kuehl Pederson.

We hear now from the candidates for TVW’s Video Voters Guide series.

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.

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