Cold 2011 has benefits: Wash. wildfires way down
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- The cold, wet weather that persisted through much of Washington this year has helped minimize wildfire activity that usually wreaks havoc during the summer months.
The number of wildfires through the end of July was down sharply on state-managed lands, from an average of 467 in the past three years to only 214 this year. The number of acres burned fell even more dramatically, from about 11,000 acres average to about 200.
This week typically marks the midpoint of the fire season. Forecasters see no signs of any major lightning storms in the immediate future.
Joe Shramek leads the state's wildfire protection efforts at the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. He says there's still the potential for significant fire in the weeks to come but that he's happy the state has been able to save resources through the season so far.