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Washington’s Worst Ever Wildfire Season

Presented by Sandra Kaiser, Communications Director for the Department of Natural Resources

The Okanogan Complex Fire was a wildfire affecting Okanogan County in north-central Washington state. It was composed of five fires that were caused by lightning strikes on August 15, 2015, with two of the fires near Conconully merging days later on August 19. At its peak, it burned over 304,782 acres of land and forced the evacuations of numerous towns, including Conconully, Twisp and Winthrop. Over 1,250 firefighters were deployed to the Okanogan Complex. Three United States Forest Service firefighters were killed in an accident. Traditional methods of containing such wildfires, such as creating bulldozer lines, were not readily available due to the irregular terrain and because an inversion layer trapped smoke in the valley, making it difficult to fly in water by helicopter.

Location: Building 3, room 102

Students wishing to register for Science Seminar may take it for credit as Ge Sc 190/1 (items 6080 and 6082 respectively).

Science Seminar is a weekly set of presentations by Highline faculty about an area in their field of expertise. Designed to illustrate the cutting edge of science, technology and medicine for a general audience, the series is open to the public but also can be taken for college credit. In some cases faculty from outside the sciences illustrate how science and technology impact their field.