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Thurston County, Washington

Emergency Management

A structure and surrounding area burn during the 448-acre Scatter Creek Fire in August, 2017

Wildland fires are the most frequently occurring hazard in Thurston County with an average of 63 wildland fires occurring annually. Thanks largely to suppression efforts led by local fire districts, many wildfires are extinguished or contained before they can threaten nearby communities.

Wildfires are uncontrolled fires that burn through vegetation, such as grass, brush, and tress. They can be caused by lightning, but most often they are started by humans through activities such as campfires, cigarettes, fireworks, and arson. Wildfires can spread quickly under the right conditions, driven by wind and fueled by dry vegetation.

Wildfires pose several risks and hazards to communities. They can damage or destroy homes and other critical structures, threaten the safety of the public and drive the need for evacuations, cause power outages, and disrupt other essential services such as water and gas. Additionally, wildfires can produce smoke across very large areas that can be harmful to people’s health, especially those with respiratory problems.