195 More Wildfires in WA State Than This Time Last Season
Officials say record droughts and tinder dry conditions likely the difference. Pictured is the Coulee Hite fire, burning West of Spokane since August 8th.
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources says resources are being stretched very thin this fire season, but some new counter-measures are helping to keep fires more contained, and smaller.
DNR is the state's largest agency for battling wildfires, and so far this year there have been 751 blazes compared with 565 by this period in 2014. Of those, 628 have been traced to human causes. But this doesn't mean reckless behavior by the public.
Due to record droughts, even simple activities like farming or target shooting can trigger a blaze, with just a few sparks. All outdoor burning has been banned in DNR managed lands as well as campgrounds due to the drought.
But officials say new aggressive measures being employed at the outset of these blazes has kept them smaller and more contained. We've had more fires this season, but overall they're considerably smaller than most of the ones in 2014.
Officials have been able to coordinate ground crews along with aerial tankers and other suppression equipment to surround and beat back fires in the early stages, making them easier to contain even if they try to grow quickly.