State expands wildfire prevention program from eastern to western WA
Apr 3, 2023, 1:25 PM | Updated: 4:28 pm
(Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP, file)
To get a head start preparing for wildfire season, a prevention program from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in eastern Washington is now expanding west.
The “Wildfire Ready Neighbors Program” has been running for two years, and it connects residents with a free, customized plan and tools to protect their homes and property from wildfire.
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This spring, DNR is expanding the program to include Pierce, Mason, and Thurston counties.
“Wildfire preparedness isn’t one-size-fits-all. That’s why we’ve developed a simple survey to help your local wildfire experts craft a Wildfire Ready Plan just for you that works for your property, budget, and lifestyle,” a statement from the program said.
Since the program was founded in 2021, more than 4,000 people living across the Cascades have used the program to help prepare their homes for wildfire. This includes more than 2,000 home visits by forest consultants working to reduce the risk of fire on people’s property.
The program is being announced at the Pacific Northwest Wildfire Conference and Exhibition in Sea-Tac. The two-day event, Monday and Tuesday, is the first conference to focus on fighting wildfires in the Pacific Northwest and will feature state, regional, national, and international leaders in the wildland firefighting industry, including Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz and Sarah Fisher, Deputy Director of Fire and Aviation Management for the U.S. Forest Service.
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If you live in a qualifying county, you can sign up for the Wildfire Ready program here.
Along with this, the DNR is bringing back prescribed burns with plans for about three square miles in Central and Eastern Washington to be set on fire.
Franz says prescribed burns are one of the most cost-effective ways to remove excess vegetation and slow wildfires.
DNR ended a 15-year pause of broadcast burning on state trust lands last year with three fuels reduction burns in northeast Washington.