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Washington DNR predicts challenging 2021 wildfire season

In April alone, Washington state saw over 220 wildfires compared to 160 wildfires last April.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is predicting a challenging wildfire season after a worse than average spring.

In April alone, the state saw over 220 wildfires compared to 160 wildfires last April. Most of those fires were caused by humans.

“We are urging people to take steps to please not create any spark, everything from debris pile burns to campfires," said Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz.

The 10-year average for April is around 53 wildfires, according to Franz.

"As we saw the drought forecast, and we see that hotter, drier temperatures, and the hotter drier landscape throughout our state, more and more homes are now at risk," explained Franz.

RELATED: How to build a wildfire defensible space around your home

"This is no longer just an eastern Washington issue," Franz continued. "Wherever you live in Washington state, you are at risk of wildfires."

Franz said one challenge last wildfire season was a lack of resources with so many catastrophic fires burning all at once.

To prepare, the DNR is working to increase the number of air resources and train as many firefighters as possible.

Through House Bill 1168, the state secured funding to help with wildfire resources, but most of that money will not be available until the next wildfire season.

Franz suggests Washingtonians should prepare themselves and their homes for wildfire season by creating defensible space barriers.

"We urge people to take this time right now before fires are at their doorstep, to help them and their family and our firefighters [be] more safe," said Franz.   

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