(STAFF REPORTS/Chewelah Independent)
Washington DNR has reported to double the average amount of fires…
With the Washington Department of Natural resources cataloging 468 fires it has responded to by June 23, the number of wildfires appears to be steadily rising in the 2020 core fire season. This year’s uptick in numbers is double the agency usually responds to. According to the Northwest News Network, fire managers say they have seen a significant number of wildfires in “every corner of the state.”
According to fire managers, the reason for this is people cleaning their yards during the pandemic. About two-thirds of these fires have occurred in Eastern Washington as people burn yard debris.
“Everybody is following the “stay home, stay safe” order. They’re getting more time at home to do yard work. We’re seeing an unprecedented number of debris piles, and we’re seeing an unprecedented number of people that are lighting those piles on fire,” Washington Commissioner of Public Lands Hillary Franz said.
The fire danger for Southern Stevens County moved to moderate and new burn bans were enacted for the area.
This is part of a trend that has seen the number of fires increase over the past 10 years. The last decade total was about 217 fires on DNR managed land by late June, which has been widely surpassed the past three years.
While fire conditions are near normal or below normal, that doesn’t mean there will be fires, says DNR experts.