Crosscut Talks

What to Do About Wildfires in Washington

September 10, 2019

There's no question that wildfires have been getting worse. They're bigger, stronger, and more destructive than ever before, and the fire season is longer than ever before, too. This is especially true in the western states. Last year, for instance, California experienced the deadliest wildfire in state history, killing at least 85 people, destroying fourteen thousand homes and burning an area the size of Chicago. The Pacific Northwest has escaped the height of its fire season without any major events, but there are long-term trends point toward more big fire seasons in the future. Crosscut gathered a panel of leaders — Including former Cal Fire chief Ken Pimlott, Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz and the natural resources director for the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Cody Desautel — to discuss what can be done to manage this new normal. This conversation was recorded on May 4, 2019, at Seattle University as part of the Crosscut Festival.