By any measure, this year’s wildfire season was a scorcher. From weeks of oppressive smoke to explosive blazes that destroyed an entire town and culminated in the death of an infant, this year’s catastrophic fires affected nearly everyone in Washington.
The state Department of Natural Resources is Washington’s largest firefighting organization, with about 600 year-round and seasonal employees working to control fires on more than 13 million acres of forestland across the state. DNR has kept records of every reported wildfire in the state since 2008. With the help of Angie Lane, DNR’s assistant division manager of plans and information for wildfire, Crosscut took a deep dive into these 13,452 fire records to highlight some numbers that help put this year into context and tell the broader story of our state’s fires.
Fire season in Washington lasts from April through the end of October, and this year, the Department of Natural Resources responded to 1,851 fires — more than any other year this decade.