The Skagit County Board of Commissioners proclaimed May “Wildfire Awareness Month” after hearing from area wildfire experts.
“It’s a great time to start thinking about this before summer, when our months get warmer and our fire potential goes up,” local wildfire resilience coordinator Jenny Coe, who works for the Skagit and Whatcom conservation districts, told the commissioners Tuesday.
Coe was joined by other Skagit Conservation District staff and representatives of the Skagit County Fire Marshal’s Office and the state Department of Natural Resources’ northwest region firefighting team.
“In 2020, we had 65 classified fires in our region … and the average size was at 2.95 acres,” Natural Resources Fire Operations District Manager David Way said. “That’s not the great big huge fires we see in drier ecosystems like in Eastern Washington, but it is concerning knowing we have so many houses in these forested, rural areas of Skagit County.”
A giant sequoia has been found smoldering and smoking in a part of Sequoia National Park that burned in one of California’s huge wildfires last year, the National Park Service said Wednesday.
“The fact areas are still smoldering and smoking from the 2020 Castle Fire demonstrates how dry the park is,” said Leif Mathiesen, assistant fire management officer for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in central California. “With the low amount of snowfall and rain this year, there may be additional discoveries as spring transitions into summer.”
The smoldering tree was found recently by scientists and fire crews surveying the effects of the blaze, which was ignited by lightning last August and spread over more than 270 square miles (699 square kilometers) of the Sierra Nevada. It took five months to fully contain.
KTLA-TV 5 Los Angeles
A large prescribed burn that crews began on Tuesday has now been declared a wildfire amid deteriorating conditions, according to the South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership (SCOFMP).
The North 2 prescribed burn was intended to treat up to 4,000 acres. SCOFMP said that 345 acres were successfully burned on Tuesday, but officials decided to postpone further burning Wednesday morning. Regardless, "things deteriorated faster than expected," they said.
With drying vegetation, low humidity, and increased fire behavior, officials decided to convert the North 2 burn into a wildfire dubbed the Meadow Fire. The fire is located about five miles northeast of Chiloquin, but is currently growing away from the community.
KDRV-TV ABC 12 Medford
After one of the most destructive and extreme wildfire seasons in modern history last year, a widening drought across California and much of the West has many residents bracing for the possibility this season could be worse.
Anemic winter rain and snowfall has left reservoirs and river flows down significantly, even as the state experiences its driest water year in more than four decades. Today, wildfire fuels in some parts of California are at or near record levels of dryness.
Fuel moisture — the amount of water inside a living plant — "is the lowest that we've recorded at these sites since 2013," says Craig Clements, director of the Wildfire Interdisciplinary Research Center at San Jose State University. "It's indicative of very dangerous conditions coming into this summer."
WBAA Public Radio
Historic. Catastrophic. An event South Walton Fire District officials say they’ll never forget.
“Just that quick, in the blink of an eye, it was on us,” Fire Marshal Sammy Sanchez said.
The Santa Rosa Beach community was hit by a wildfire that burned more than 500 acres and destroyed 33 homes.
“It certainly was impactful to our community and we do our best to move on from it as best as we can and try to prevent it from happening again,” Sanchez said. SWFD officials said the Mussett Bayou wildfire pushed them to their limits.
“It was definitely larger than we could ever prepare for as a district at that time,” District Chief Chris Kidder said.
But support helped them battle the flames.
“When I say all hands, I mean everyone in the district was working, every division was working, our fleet maintenance was working, our life safety division was working, beach safety division was working, Walton County [Sheriff’s Office] was supporting us,” Kidder said.
WJHG-TV NBC/CW+ 7 Panama City