This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.
The Taylor Bridge fire that scorched more than 36 square miles east of Cle Elum and destroyed 61 homes has been contained. But the state isn’t out of the fire danger woods by any stretch.
While that fire likely was caused by a construction crew, it burned out of control due in large part to dry conditions. Those conditions are present in other parts of the state, but some counties are facing another problem on top of that: insect infestation.
The state Department of Natural Resources has identified at least four areas – more than 1 million acres in Okanogan, Ferry, Klickitat and Yakima counties – where infestation of such bugs as mountain pine beetle and western spruce budworm poses a serious threat to forest health. Trees weakened by insects are more vulnerable to fire than healthy ones.
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