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Northwest States Face Early Signs Of Wildfire Summer

A view of the Hungry Hill fire in north east Washington state.
A view of the Hungry Hill fire in north east Washington state.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee declared a statewide drought emergency Friday.

Inslee declared a drought in some areas earlier this year, but now the problem is statewide.

Most households will have an adequate water supply, but the news is troubling for farms and rural areas. It could result in a loss of more than $1 billion in Washington crops.

The drought also has fire officials concerned about the wildfire outlook in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

People across the three states are saying that they're seeing early signs that the forests are drying out, that the desert is drying out, and that we need to be careful.

Some residents in Packwood, Washington, said everybody's really nervous. They're seeing the forests dry out, they're seeing the trees blooming a full month early than they're used to, and everybody's getting a little hoppy.

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources is warning that this will be an above-average fire year for Washington and that wildfires will happen early this year and at higher elevations than usual.


Ashley Stewart contributed to this report

Copyright 2015 Northwest News Network

Anna King loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network, a journalism collaboration of public radio stations in Washington and Oregon that includes JPR.