wawildfire

Sheri Whitfield / U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

After two years of seeing a steady rise in the number of wildfires burning across Washington, the 2020 core fire season is looking to pull way ahead in wildfire starts. 

But this year’s unprecedented uptick in the number of fires has an unforeseen culprit: people cleaning their yards during the pandemic.

Inciweb/National Wildfire Coordinating Group

Blaine Vandehey spends his summers rappelling from helicopters into active wildfires. 

This is his 12th year in the U.S. Forest Service. And he’s worried about going to fire camp this summer with the menace of COVID-19.

Courtesy Amy Freel/GoFundMe

A Washington firefighter who was badly burned while fighting a fire over Labor Day weekend has died from his injuries. Christian Johnson, 55, had been flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle after suffering burns over more than half of his body.

 

Inciweb

You might have noticed some smoky skies lately, particularly in the Inland Northwest from the Williams Flats Fire near Grand Coulee Dam

Still, the fire season so far has been relatively mild as far as large fires and region-wide smoke inundation go. But that could change in late summer and early fall, according to a recent federal report from the National Interagency Fire Center.

ANNA KING / NW News Network

It’s been a relatively quiet summer so far for Northwest wildland firefighters. But after a couple days of lightning storms in eastern and central Washington, paired with dry and windy conditions, more fires are starting to flare up.

For example, this scene Thursday when driving down Highway 26 in eastern Washington near Washtucna:

Scott A. Leadingham

 

One hot July afternoon, smoke began to fill the skies in North Central Washington. In the town of Pateros, it was so dark you might think it looked like midnight. But it was just nearing dinnertime.

The 911 calls streamed in. The Carlton Complex had reached the edge of town.

Franklin County Fire District 13

Updated Friday, July 19, 11 p.m. PT

A wildfire continued burning today near the Hanford Nuclear Site on and around the Hanford Reach National Monument. The Cold Creek Fire is burning sensitive, federally protected habitat. As of Friday evening it was estimated at nearly 42,000 acres and 60 percent containment.

Jule Gilfillan/OPB

Homes in one Central Washington city may be a little better protected from wildfires this season, thanks to a herd of goats.

In June 2015, the Sleepy Hollow Fire burned to the edge of Wenatchee. Flames rushed through, consuming brush and cheatgrass and quickly destroying 28 homes and three businesses.

ANNA KING/NW News Network

Fire crews in central Washington are battling one of the largest fires yet this year in the state.

The so-called 243 Fire in Grant County grew to an estimated 5,000 acres Tuesday after spreading overnight Monday. It’s just outside of Royal City, east of Vantage and Wanapum Dam on the Columbia River.