OLYMPIA – Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz joined DNR leadership and Central Mason Fire & EMS representation this morning to review the 2023 wildfire season, highlight some of the year’s successes, detail upcoming improvements and celebrate interagency partnerships.
“Statewide, we saw the second-most ignitions in Washington’s history this year, including the tragedies that were the Gray and Oregon fires,” Commissioner Franz said. “But we kept 95 percent of DNR protection fires under 10 acres and remained well below the 10-year average for acres burned – a testament to the investments we have made in resources like additional aircraft, more firefighters, better training and the great work done by firefighters and interagency partners.”
The busy 2023 season saw more than 1,880 fires across Washington burn approximately 165,000 acres, the second-highest number of ignitions in recorded state history but well below the 10-year average of roughly 470,000 acres burned. More than half of the fires on DNR-protected lands were on the western side of the state.
DNR’s Acting Southeast Region Manager Larry Leach and Central Mason Fire & EMS Division Chief Brandon Searles spoke about the Tunnel Five and McEwan fires, and the collaboration that went into those suppression efforts.
“There’s no partnership I’m prouder of than my agency’s collaborative work with local fire districts to fight wildfires all across Washington,” Commissioner Franz said. “Our relationship is a valuable one and it’s a relationship I’ll continue to work to strengthen.”
Media members interested in both footage and images from the press conference can find them here and TVW broadcast.