SPOKANE, Wash. – Wildfire season is right around the corner and Governor Jay Inslee spent Tuesday touring several areas in Washington ahead of the upcoming fire season. Officials with the Department of Natural Resources said the state is much more prepared for the 2017 fire season that it was a few years ago.
Governor Inslee and Public Lands Commissioner Franz met with first District 5 to talk about the upcoming fire season. In 2015, fire officials expressed concern that they did not get enough help from the state. But will this be an issue moving forward?
“In a year like 2015, there’s never enough resources. There were just so many fires and we had resources from all over the world that responded to those fires,” Steve Harris with the Department of Natural Resources said.
Resources were slim two years ago as numerous fires ravaged the region. Since then, the Department of Natural Resources said they have worked to make sure the region is better prepared if another bad fire season happens again.
“We’ve continued to develop and improve those relationships with our partners local and internationally, to develop those relationships, so next time we have a bad fire season like that, we should have a better opportunity to take advantage of more resources,” Harris said.
Fire officials from several fire districts met in Nine Mile Falls Tuesday afternoon to meet with Governor Inslee and the Commissioner of Public Lands to discuss resources and the fire season outlook.
Commissioner Franz said the issues from the 2014 and 2015 fire seasons should not happen again because there is now more awareness about what was lacking. She also said 2,000 more firefighters are currently in training so they are constantly adding more resources. The Department of Natural Resources said they have done the same.
“DNR has added resources since then, in our region alone, we’ve added seven new engines this year and some more permanent fire staff so that we can continue to build our relationships with our partners,” Harris said.
The Department of Natural Resources also added more aircraft and ground resources and said they are better prepared if the region sees another fire season like the one in 2015.
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