Mild Northwest Fire Season Could Blow Up In Late Summer As Fuels Dry Out
You might have noticed some smoky skies lately, particularly in the Inland Northwest from the Williams Flats Fire near Grand Coulee Dam.
Still, the fire season so far has been relatively mild as far as large fires and region-wide smoke inundation go. But that could change in late summer and early fall, according to a recent federal report from the National Interagency Fire Center.
At highest risk are the lower and middle elevations across California, the northern and western Great Basin and parts of the Northwest where a robust grass crop has cured and is now ripe for sparks.
“August and early September are the peak periods for fire activity across the western states,” the report says.
The latest drought outlook continues to show moderate to severe drought across parts of Washington and Oregon.
This is all happening at the same time when many of the approximately 500 seasonal Washington firefighters go away, according to state Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, who leads Washington’s Department of Natural Resources.
“Many of these men and women are young college kids or are just out of college,” Franz said. “But we often times will lose a number of these seasonal firefighters when it’s time to go back to school in early September or late August.”
Franz says that’s why the DNR is bringing on several more aircraft and about 30 additional full-time firefighters to help in this late season.
Franz says she will also use firefighting help and aircraft from other states and agencies if necessary this late summer and fall.
The fire that engulfed Notre Dame cathedral shocked the world earlier this year. And a wildfire in July on Rattlesnake Mountain in southeast Washington similarly shocked Northwest tribes. Continue Reading ‘A Total Sense Of Belonging’: Northwest Tribes Lament Fire On Rattlesnake Mountain
A fire district around Wenatchee has come up with a new way to make wildland fires less severe. Chelan County Fire District 1 is ditching the hand tools and machinery that firefighters traditionally use to thin overgrown brush. Instead, they’re turning to a more natural approach to thin out fuels around the Broadview neighborhood that burned in the 2015 Sleepy Hollow fire. Continue Reading Hey, That’s My Grass! Goats Chomp Fire Fuels Around Previously Burned Wenatchee Neighborhood
It’s been a relatively quiet summer so far for Northwest wildland firefighters. But after a couple days of lightning storms in eastern and central Washington, paired with dry and windy conditions, more fires are starting to flare up.
Continue Reading Firefighters Address Central And Eastern Washington Fires After Lightning Storms