Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz was in Wenatchee Tuesday in part to view the effects of the Red Apple Fire and speak with local fire officials.

Franz said that her office was very concerned about the fire late last week because of the windy conditions and the blaze's proximity to homes. However, thanks to the tireless efforts of firefighters, badly needed state and federal resources can soon move on to the next incident.

"Our expanded fleet of air resources proved to also be the difference." Franz explained, "It showed once again that a strong initial attack with a swift deployment of air resources is the path forward to fighting back against Washington's annually escalating wildfire crisis."

Franz also credits the Type 3 Incident Management Team that responded a couple of days after the fire began for holding down what was considered a Type 1 incident. A Type 1 Incident Management Team took control of the fire last Friday.

After talking with local fire officials, Franz also cautioned the public against burning debris piles, adding that they've seen a doubling of debris pile burns over the last two years.

Already 900 fires have occurred statewide, burning roughly 140,000 acres. That's just shy of the total amount of acres burned for the year in 2019. Five out of the last six years have been catastrophic fire seasons according to the Washington Department of Natural Resources.

Three firefighters have been seriously injured fighting wildfires this season.

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