Commissioner Franz Visits Sherwood Fire Amidst Unprecedented Wildfire Season
July 29, 2021
Franz joined Spokane Tribal leadership to double-down on DNR’s commitment to combating the wildfire crisis and keep communities safe Yesterday, Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz visited Wellpinit, where firefighting crews have been battling the Sherwood Fire since last Wednesday. Alongside the Spokane Tribe Chairwoman Carol Evans and wildfire officials, Franz highlighted the early and alarming start to the fire season and urged the public to practice fire safety amidst a drought emergency and escalating wildfire danger.
“The wildfire crisis impacts everyone—rural and urban communities on both sides of the Cascades,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, the elected official who oversees DNR. “From air quality to the long-term health of our forests, wildfire is a public health and public safety issue in Washington and across the entire Western United States that we all must work together to confront.”
Already, there have been more than 1,000 fires this season – an all-time record, and almost double the ten-year average. More than 240,000 acres have already burned in Washington this year – more than the total burned in all of 2019.
The Sherwood Fire is one of 10 major wildfires currently burning across the state. The fire has burned 1,220 acres and is 50% contained. Level 2 and 3 evacuation orders remain in place for homes.
Last week, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources announced the temporary closure of all recreation and public access on DNR-managed lands in Eastern Washington due to extreme fire danger. The decision follows a statewide burn ban that Commissioner Franz enacted earlier this month on the 13 million acres of forestlands under DNR fire protection.
Following the stop in Wellpinit, Franz visited the Colville Tribal reservation to meet with Chairman Andy Joseph Jr. and members of the Colville Tribal community.
Commissioner Franz visited the Red Apple Fire in Wenatchee last week, which has now been fully suppressed following a swift and strategic response from firefighting teams, a strong initial attack, and deployment of the expanded fleet of DNR air resources.
MEDIA: Video and photos of Wednesday’s visit to Sherman Fire are available to download for broadcast use HERE.
Led by Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, the Department of Natural Resources is Washington State’s wildfire firefighting force, responsible for preventing and fighting wildfires on 13 million acres of private, state, and tribal-owned lands. The men and women of DNR are committed to ensuring Washington's lands, waters and communities are protected – both today and for future generations.