The number of wildfires burning across Washington has risen steadily over the past two years, but the 2020 core fire season is looking to pull way ahead in wildfire starts.
And this year’s unprecedented uptick in the number of fires has an unforeseen culprit: people cleaning their yards during the pandemic.
Washington fire and land managers say they’ve seen a significant number of wildfires in “every corner of the state.” So far this year, the state Department of Natural Resources said it has responded to more than 468 wildfires of varying sizes — nearly double the 10-year average for an entire fire season. More than two-thirds have burned east of the Cascades. Most happened after people burned yard debris, Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz said.