WSU To Host Virtual Wildfire Preparedness Session

Washington State University will try to help those in timbered areas get ready for another wildfire season; virtually. WSU will host Wildfire 101: Mitigation and Planning via Zoom March 23rd. Extension Forestry Coordinator Sean Alexander said variables outside of humanity’s control make it impossible to exactly know what each wildfire season will look like. The winds that fueled last year’s Labor Day fires are an example.

“We’re going to likely start to see cases of wind events or at least climate that is more variable and may lead to conditions that could fuel wildfires. Or at least create a situation where wildfires may start up.”

With about 15% of Washington’s forested land owned by over 200,000 families, Alexander and his team have tried to reach out to rural regions to prepare for wildfires. Alexander said such efforts could be very important in 2021, following a winter that resulted in one of the snowiest Februarys in decades. Alexander worries if warmer than normal temperatures continue, the snowpack will melt faster, making for a deadly 1-2 punch.

“What that’s going to do is that’s going to give a lot of excess moisture and water resources for a lot of our fine fuels like our grasses, shrubs and even our small-diameter trees that kind of create that fuel structure that’s one of the factors that would lead into a high-intensity fire.”

Those fuels he noted, could then dry in the coming spring and summer months, making them ripe for large and strong wildfires.

The virtual event takes place Tuesday, March 23rd, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is free and recordings of the webinar will be available after the conclusion of the event. Click Here to learn more or to register.

Alexander added these webinar will be of great interest to timberland owners statewide, as the state is already, “in the last few weeks of the prime season to clear dry wood and other fuels”.

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