‘We’re doing everything we can to prepare’; Spokane fire chief warns of severe fire danger

Fire Watch

SPOKANE, Wash. — Fuel levels, hot weather and a region in drought are combining to make for some of the most serious fire danger Spokane County has seen in years.

In a briefing with the Spokane Public Safety Committee meeting Monday, Spokane Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer said 67,000 acres have burned across Washington already this fire season.

Chief Schaeffer also said the nation is at preparedness level four. That means three or more geographic areas have large, complex fires burning. At level five, Schaeffer said, that means there are no more resources available to fight fires.

“We’re dangerously close,” Chief Schaeffer said. “Fuel models are certainly aligning at levels we haven’t seen in a long time and we’re doing everything we can to prepare.”

Schaeffer said the last time the nation was at preparedness level five was in 2015; that year, firefighters from Australia and New Zealand came to fight fires.

At the time, it was the worst fire season on record with more than 10 million acres burned across the country.

Spokane recently purchased two new brush trucks to replace aging trucks in the fleet. Schaeffer pointed to recent fires within the city limits to show the increasing risk of fires burning homes.

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