Wildfire Corner:  2018 Wildfire Season in Review

Depending on where you live it may be raining or snowing, but what we do not see on the landscape is wildfire.  So now that it’s over, let’s take a look at the 2018 wildfire season.

Wildfire starts for the Department of Natural Resources (these are fires on DNR jurisdiction lands) was the highest on record at 1,098. Statewide, all responding agencies (federal, local and state) reported 1,744 wildfire starts.

In 2018, 47 wildfires were Type 1, 2 or 3 incidents, which are considered to be large wildfires. These fires are managed by an Incident Management Team.  Fifteen of these wildfires were type 1 and 2, and 32 were type 3 incidents. Type 1 incidents are the most complex wildfire followed by type 2 and type 3 incidents being less complex. Check out the FEMA site for detailed definitions of these incident types.

Lightning was responsible for 9 percent of the wildfire starts in Washington state*, but outdoor burning was the leading cause of wildfire starts. See the following short video on wildfire starts and outdoor burning.

If you are going to be doing any outdoor burning this winter, make sure you know the rules before you light. Check out this site for rules on outdoor burning and look here for some additional tips. Be safe!

*Fire cause data is for DNR jurisdiction wildfires.

2018 Wildfire Season by the Numbers

DNR Jurisdiction Fires

  • 1,098 fires (most fires in one year on record)
  • 93 percent of fires kept at 10 acres or less
  • 107,387 acres burned

Statewide Fires – All Jurisdictions

  • 1,744 fires
  • 433,834 acres burned

By Guy Gifford, landowner assistance forester & fire prevention and Firewise coordinator, Washington State Department of Natural Resources, Northeast Region, guy.gifford@dnr.wa.gov