A Hot Fire Season in WA With Second-Most Ignitions In History
It was a long and hot fire season in Washington state says Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz. She was joined by officials from the Department of Natural Resources Thursday to review the 2023 wildfire season, highlight some of the year’s successes, detail upcoming improvements and "celebrate interagency partnerships."
THE SECOND HIGHEST NUMBER OF IGNITIONS EVER
"Statewide, we saw the second-most ignitions in Washington’s history this year, including the tragedies that were the Gray and Oregon fires,” Commissioner Franz says they were able to keep 95 percent of DNR protection fires under 10 acres. She says that's well below the 10-year average for acres burned which she says is a result of the hard work, investments in resources like more aircraft, more firefighters and improved training.
FIREFIGHTERS WERE BUSY ALL SEASON ALL AROUND THE STATE
Franz says firefighters responded to 1,880 fires in the state in the 2023 fire season. The fires burned about 165,000 acres which is the second-highest number of fires in recorded history but well below the 10-year average of about 470,000 acres burned.
WHERE WERE A MAJORITY OF FIRES LOCATED IN THE STATE?
This year it wasn't the east side of the state where a majority of the fires burned. Franz says more than half of the fires on DNR-protected lands happened on the west side of the state.
PRAISE FOR FIREFIGHTERS AND PARTNERSHIPS
A press release says DNR’s Acting Southeast Region Manager Larry Leach and Central Mason Fire & EMS Division Chief Brandon Searles praise the work of firefighters in the Tunnel Five and McEwan fires, "and the collaboration that went into those suppression efforts."
“There’s no partnership I’m prouder of than my agency’s collaborative work with local fire districts to fight wildfires all across Washington,” Commissioner Franz said. “Our relationship is a valuable one, and it’s a relationship I’ll continue to work to strengthen.”
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Gallery Credit: Hannah Lang