Coronavirus could seriously hamper Washington’s ability to fight wildfires as agencies focus on organizing a response to the global pandemic. Despite concerns that the 2020 wildfire season could be worse than 2019’s, agencies that usually plan for fires and recruit firefighters in early spring are instead helping organize Washington’s response to COVID-19. Social-distancing concerns could mean a lower turnout of firefighters.
| With weather.com
“An epidemic of trees” has resulted from a misguided century-long policy of extinguishing wildfires in the West. Now more people are moving into the woods, even as “megafires” explode. It doesn’t have to be this way, a veteran scientist says, even as climate changes makes forests hotter and drier.
| With Crosscut
OLYMPIA – Could 2017 be the year Washington emerges as the first state to tax emissions of a greenhouse gas? Barring some unusual turn of events as legislators finalize the state budget here, don’t count on it. But that assessment comes with an asterisk. There are signs that business opposition to the idea is softening. Meanwhile, environmentalists and their allies have made it clear that if the Legislature doesn’t act this spring, they’ll bring to issue to voters next year.