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Murrow College of Communication at WSU

Wildfire Dangers in Palouse Region Heading into Summer

PULLMAN, WASH -As summer creeps closer, so does wildfire season.

The National Interagency Fire Center designated Eastern Washington as a 2nd-level drought region for this upcoming fire season. Fires in recent years destroyed acres of land across Eastern Washington, including the Malden fire in 2020. Lauren Stachowiak, Director of Wildfire Science and Management at Eastern Washington University, said it’s hard to tell what we can expect from this fire season.

“As of right now, the outlook through July are such that we are okay, things could be worse than they are, but that can change,” said Stachowiak.

With unusual snowfall in April across Washington State, some areas that would usually experience a drought are retaining moisture. Dmitri Kalashnikov, a WSU Vancouver Ph.D. Student in Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences says this is a good sign for wildfires in the area.

“The more snow in the mountains means more moisture in the soil, which will remain until May or June. Which is good for preventing fires, especially in early summer,” said Kalashnikov.

Historically wildfire season tends to fall between May and October. However, in 2020, fires raged on into December so we’ll have to wait and see about this year.



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