As predicted, it was another hot summer across Washington.
On top of high temps, drought conditions prompted a rare statewide burn ban.
Washingtonians pulled together --- we did what we could in the moment to try and prevent a repeat of last year’s devastating and historic wildfires.
In the end, the fires raged as fierce as they ever have --- lives were lost in the battles to subdue them.
Hundreds of thousands of acres burned, including some 25,000 acres of wildlife land in Okanogan and Chelan Counties alone. Losses to state, federal, tribal, and privately owned forests are still being calculated.
Has enough been done to lessen the risk of catastrophic, runaway wildfires on private, state, and particularly federally managed lands?
One place to start: fix a glitch in the federal budget that is unintentionally feeding a “vicious cycle.” The problem: funds to fight wildfires are drawn away from U.S. Forest Service programs designed to prevent wildfires.
This week, Congressman Dan Newhouse of Yakima called for swift action on the floor of the U.S. House. From the Spokesman-Review: