The wildfire trends are unmistakable in Washington state and around the western United States. There are more wildfires, they are bigger and they are more and more devastating. Every year, there is more scorched Earth.
We explain why things are getting worse and what's being done to make wildfire less dangerous to the survival of the forest and to ourselves.
Read more on the stories featured in this KING 5 special presentation below.
Washington wildfires are starting earlier in the year and with higher frequency. State officials hope to help forests regain their health before it's too late.
In 2019, there were 658,000 acres of sick and dying trees in Washington as a result of insects and disease.
Prescribed burning is a key tool that Washington crews use to remove smaller trees and low-level vegetation, which reduces the threat of massive wildfires.
Western Washington doesn’t always get strong east winds, but when the winds do arrive, they can lead to huge wildfires.
Identifying how forests regenerate from fires, and what conditions spark them in the first place, can help the DNR estimate how often they might occur in the future.
2020 was particularly devastating not only because of the lasting impact on the landscape but also because of the toll on people's mental and emotional wellbeing that may take a lifetime to recover.
Animal rescue workers say the number of wildfire-related injuries is growing every year.
In Washington, human-caused fires like those started by cigarettes, campfires and more account for a total of 737 fires.
Communities in western Washington are clearing vegetation to prevent wildfires, under the guidance of the national Firewise program.
Smoke from Oregon and California fires can travel all the way to New York City. Scientists say because of our changing climate, the problem will only get worse.
KING 5’s Eric Wilkinson, KREM’s Whitney Ward and KGW’s Keely Chalmers and Christine Pitawanich contributed.