State Warns of Drought and Fire Problems This Summer
You've heard the warnings about the upcoming fire season. Fire officials say the state is super dry and ready for a big wildfire season. Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, who leads the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, is asking Washington residents to make an effort to help prevent fires this Memorial Day weekend. Department officials say there were 225 DNR fires in April which was an all time record for that month. They say they usually respond to about 54 fires on average in the month of April and it's been that way for the last 10 years. But not this year.
They say most of the fires were caused by people burning debris piles from yard waste, one of the common causes of wildfires in Washington. Drought is a big factor this year in Washington State. The State Department of Ecology Thursday issued a drougt advisory for most of Washington State including all areas east of the Cascade Mountains, parts of southwest Washington and the Washington coast.
The report says March through April was the fourth driest time for the state since 1895. Ecology officials say there's growing concern about farmers and ranchers in Eastern and Central Washington.
A press release from the ecology department reads "while Washington mountains received an above-normal snowpack this year, not all watersheds are fed by melting snow. Springtime precipitation is critical for non-irrigated crops and livestock forage. In a few basins, such as the Pend Oreille, Spokane, Walla Walla, and Snake watersheds, early snowmelt is leaving less than average water levels, and last month’s temperatures were higher than normal for most of Washington."