Commissioner Franz, Gig Harbor Fire Urge Westside Communities to Prepare for Fire Season
News Date: 
May 31, 2024

The free program from the Department of Natural Resources and local fire partners offers free resources to residents, including expert advice and practical tools to prepare.
Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz and representatives from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) joined Gig Harbor Fire on Friday for the local launch of Wildfire Ready Neighbors – an initiative to help bolster community preparedness ahead of fire season.
“Wildfires are no longer just an issue for eastern Washington – no one is immune from the impacts. With hotter and drier conditions, it's critical that every resident acts now to prepare their home and property for wildfire risks,” said Commissioner of Public Lands, Hilary Franz. “Wildfires do not respect property lines. By working together, we can build a stronger, more proactive community.”
Through the Wildfire Ready Neighbors program, residents and property owners can receive a free custom plan and access to experts who can teach them how to reduce wildfire risks through straightforward yet effective actions.
These include removing flammable brush, cleaning roofs and gutters, and creating defensible space around their homes. Additionally, residents can learn about more extensive measures, such as using fire-resistant building materials and installing screening vents to block embers.
Commissioner Franz and DNR Community Resilience Program Manager Guy Gifford encourages residents to take the following steps this spring:
  • Clean your roof. Tree debris and dry moss can catch embers that can ignite the roof. Clean roofs and gutters prior to the start of fire season and then as needed throughout the summer.
  • Add or replace vent screens. Use 1/8 metal mesh to keep embers and debris out, as embers are the leading cause of home ignition during a wildfire.
  • Remove or replace mulch. Mulch is highly flammable; keeping it at least 5 feet away from structures is optimal. Using rock or non-flammable materials is even better.
  • Sign up for Wildfire Ready Neighbors. Washington residents can sign up today at to receive a free customized action plan.
Residents can also request a free Wildfire Ready Home Visit, where a wildfire expert will visit their property and develop a tailored action plan for wildfire preparedness.
"The Wildfire Ready Neighbors initiative enhances existing efforts by fostering greater community involvement,” said Chief Dennis Doan of Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One. “This program highlights the importance of teamwork among fire departments, local conservation districts, community organizations, and residents to strengthen Gig Harbor's resilience against wildfire risks. We must prepare now to ensure our community is ready to face these threats.”
Media members interested in footage and images from the press conference can find them here as they become available.
To learn more, visit:
Jessa Lewis
Communications Manager
Cell: 509-380-6627