Long history of wildfire suppression – More than a century of putting out forest fires has allowed our forests to grow too dense, making them compete for nutrients, water and sunlight, and making them more susceptible to health problems and catastrophic wildfires.
Climate change and drought – Drought conditions dramatically increase the risk of large, severe wildfires as well as large insect outbreaks. In 2017, Washington experienced drought statewide during the summer and had the third warmest summer on record, surpassing both 2016 and 2015. Climate projections indicate that the climate from 2015 – Washington’s worst fire year – will be the norm by the middle of this century.
Past forest management practices – Past logging practices removed our largest, most resilient trees from the landscape.
Damage by disease and insects – Approximately 230,000 acres of forest in Central and Eastern Washington were damaged by insects and disease in 2018.
Human encroachment – As Washington's population grows, people continue to move into wilderness areas prone to wildfire. If the state poorly manages this growth, the safety and property of Washingtonians will be at higher risk of wildfire.