Washington Public Lands Commissioner assesses the 2021 wildfire season, the importance of aircraft to firefighting

  • Source: Wenatchee World
  • Published: 11/24/2021 12:00 AM

Reflecting on her fifth wildfire season as Commissioner of Public Lands, Hilary Franz says the bottom line is this: “I think the fire season itself was a win, even though we had 650,000 acres burn. Given the conditions on the landscape, it could’ve been a lot worse.” Washington state recorded 1,811 fires in 2021, but most were kept relatively small, despite a heatwave in June that set record highs throughout the Northwest. As head of the state Department of Natural Resources, Franz commands the largest wildland firefighting force in Washington and has successfully argued for more money to fight wildfires and attack the root causes. Franz discussed the season in a recent interview with The Wenatchee World. Franz said this season was set to be probably the worst one, frankly, with the majority of the state in drought — and that drought hit early. We had 220 fires just in the month of April, which is unprecedented.


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