Early spring was cool and wet in Washington, but May was among the hottest and driest on record, which has state officials bracing for a worse-than-normal wildfire season.
State residents probably won’t see the record destruction of 2014 and 2015, Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz said Tuesday. But it’s already bad enough that different agencies have fought 315 fires around the state.
Those include significant fires in Eastern and Central Washington and wildfires in April in Western Washington, which is months earlier than normal, Franz said. The state already has deployed aircraft and other equipment so personnel will be able to get to fires soon after they start.
“It’s going to be a pretty challenging fire season,” Franz said.
The weather forecast for Eastern Washington calls for above-normal temperatures this summer and below-normal precipitation, said Robin Fox, of the National Weather Service office in Spokane. That’s similar to last year and 2012, but not as bad as 2014 and 2015, she said.