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Bigger and more destructive fires are coming to Washington. What can we do?

Long-term trends are pointing to more intense wildfires. Experts from firefighting, public and tribal lands discuss what can be done to manage our new normal.

Wildfires panel

Crosscut's science and environment editor, Ted Alvarez, talks fire with, from right, Cody Desautel, Hilary Franz and Ken Pimlott. (Photos by Stephanie McGuire/Aowyn Photography for Crosscut)

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, 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, destroying14,000 homes and burning an area the size of Chicago. The Pacific Northwest has escaped the height of this year's fire season without any major events, but 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 Cody Desautel, natural resources director of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation — 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.

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Bigger and more destructive fires are coming to Washington. What can we do?

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