“Wildfire Ready Neighbors” was underway in much of eastern Washington. Now, it is expanding as the west faces more frequent fires.
SEATTLE — The Washington Department of Natural Resources (WADNR) announced Tuesday that it will expand its Wildfire Readiness Neighbors program to western Washington.
All residents will be able to receive customized information, while homeowners in Pierce, Thurston and Mason counties will also be able to receive in-home consultations on wildfire preparedness. The department hopes additional funding from the Legislature can help that program expand to five other counties.
“No matter where you live, no one is immune to the risk of wildfires,” Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz said in a press release. “Last year’s Bolt Creek, Goat Rocks and Nakia Creek fires are just a few examples of recent fires that threaten homes and property in western Washington.”
The Wildfire Ready Neighbors program emphasizes taking manageable steps to make homes and neighborhoods more resilient to wildfires, taking into account wildfire risks specific to each community.
Wildfire Ready Neighbors first launches in 2021 and is already made available in Chelan, Okanogan, Spokane, Yakima, Kittitas and Klickitat counties. To date, more than 4,000 homeowners have signed up to receive free customized action plans.
WADNR said many wildfires have been affecting the western part of the state.
“We are seeing catastrophic wildfires on the rise and most of those fires occur in eastern Washington but the reality is that we are approaching 30-35% of our fires. We are today west of the Cascades,” said Commissioner Franz.
Orting Fire Chief Zane Gibson says making homes “skillful in the fire”– creating defensive space and removing elements that make homes more likely to catch fire- can make a difference. difference between whether a house survives a fire or not.
“That not only keeps your home safe and potentially your family safe, but it also keeps our firefighters safe as it is easier to manage,” says Gibson. when the community knows how to fight a fire”.
Former KING 5 reporter Glenn Farley has been covering the rise in westward fires and mitigation efforts for decades.
“I think people really need to pay attention to what we’ve been talking about a lot – the vulnerability of homes and neighborhoods in the western part of the state,” said Farley. “Especially people who move to the state from out of state think, ‘Oh, it’s nothing but rain, we’re vaccinated, we’re protected.'”
To learn more about the Ready for Wildfire program and how to access available resources, click here.
https://www.king5.com/article/news/local/wildfire/wildfire-preparedness-program-western-washington/281-d9d2416e-648a-4a93-ac45-277a73fdf7b7 DNR wants homes in western Washington to become more resilient against wildfires