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New program aims to help Washington homeowners be ready for wildfire season

The Department of Natural Resources has launched the "Wildfire Ready Neighbors" program in Okanogan, Chelan and Spokane counties.

CHELAN COUNTY, Wash. — The year 2020 was one of the worst wildfire seasons in recent memory, with 1,600 fires across Washington state and 298 homes lost. 

That's why the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is launching a new program to give homeowners the tools they need to protect their property. 

The agency announced the "Wildfire Ready Neighbors" program on Monday, which is meant to help communities develop an action plan.

The program links people with fire departments and contractors to get their home ready for wildfire season as soon as possible. 

Officials with the DNR believe if homeowners are involved in the process they can reduce the destruction caused by raging fires. 

"We want to help raise awareness of this issue and tell people that they have the power to create more protection against the risk of wildfires by taking action. It's not a 100% guarantee, but it goes a long way," said Hillary Franz, commissioner of public lands for the DNR.

Wildfire Ready Neighbors launched Monday in Okanogan, Chelan and Spokane counties. The DNR hopes to expand it statewide if the agency gets enough funding. 

You can learn more about the program by visiting the Wildfire Ready Neighbors website here.