2020 Strategic Plan for Wildland Fire Protection
Why a Strategic Plan for Wildfire Protection?
Washington’s forests are in jeopardy. Wildfires create public health and water quality problems. Wildfires now increasingly burn with intensities that reduce or eliminate habitat for threatened and endangered species. The direct and indirect consequences of wildfire on the people in the state, and the state’s economy and environment are real. Understandably, this results in heightened policy concerns regarding wildland fire protection and how, when and where wildfires are fought... and who does the important and potentially dangerous work.
The last comprehensive look at DNR’s fire program was completed in 1986. Since then, much has changed on the 12.7 million acres of forests protected by the DNR. Today, there is an additional 1.6 million people, a 40% increase. There are now more homes in the woods, homes often without any fire protection. Climate change and other factors have substantially reduced forest health. The results are increased risks to public safety and firefighter safety, compounded by the increased costs of fire suppression and accelerated losses of landowner timber value.
Strategic Plan for Wildland Fire Protection
The DNR worked collaboratively with an external Advisory Committee, looking at today and where we wanted the state’s fire program to be in 2020. This focus on what has changed and is changing allowed the DNR to identify goals, objectives and strategies. The Strategic Plan started with a focus on wildfire suppression. Quickly, it became clear that a broader view was necessary. The focus changed to wildland fire protection, the interaction between forest health, wildfire readiness, wildfire prevention and wildfire suppression.
More information will be posted here as it becomes available. Please email: StrategicFire-Plan@dnr.wa.gov with comments or questions.