Wildfire threat continues across Western Washington

THURSTON COUNTY, Wash. – Tuesday’s wildfire in southern Thurston County ripped through homes and businesses.

It’s the first time a major wildfire has hit the west side of the Cascades this season and firefighters warn the threat is only going to get worse before it gets better.

Officials from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources said now is a good time to remind everyone about a few simple steps you can take today to help minimize the risk of losing property during a wildfire.

The cause of the brush fire near Grand Mound was still under investigation on Wednesday but was likely human caused, said officials.

Firefighters said our hot, dry weather makes for a perfect recipe for fires to spread lightning-fast.

“Our fires are getting larger and larger every year, so we need to pay close attention to defending our homes,” said DNR’s Janet Pearce.

To reduce the risk of your home burning in a wildfire, firefighters said everyone should be creating something called ‘defensible space’ surrounding the structures on your land.

There are a few small steps every homeowner can take right now to minimize the risk of fire loss; Things like cleaning out pine needles, leaves and debris from gutters, and making sure your brown grass isn’t tall – cut it short to keep flames from spreading. Also, make sure firewood and bushes aren’t stacked against your home’s outer walls – they can act as a fuse ready to ignite your home.

More ideas for homeowners can be found at www.firewise.org.

With warmer temperatures in the forecast, firefighters said the 2017 wildfire season still threatens everyone on the west side of the Cascades.

“We’re going to be in this for quite some time,” Pearce said. “I’m told by the weather folks that next week will be even hotter, like 90 degrees, we need people to be extremely cautious.”

DNR said crews were able to contain Tuesday’s fire quickly thanks to dozens of firefighters responding quickly from all across the Puget Sound.

Tuesday was the first time DNR had to call on a modified DC-9 airtanker to help fight fires on the west side of the mountains.