Crews have Responded to Approximately 450 Fires at Homeless Encampments in Seattle

The Seattle Fire Department has responded to approximately 450 fires at illegal homeless encampments in the city since the beginning of the year.

A large tent fire at an encampment on Fourth Avenue South at Edgar Martinez Drive South, followed by another fire at Fourth Avenue and Holgate Street on Wednesday were the latest crews responded to since Jan. 1.

Before Wednesday’s fires, Seattle Fire responded to up to approximately 449 fires between Jan. 1 and April 3. Not all fires got out of control, according to the fire department. The number of responses also includes calls for illegal burning.

Between 2020 and 2021, encampment fires have more than doubled from 854 to 1,446, according to data from the city.

Data from the city shows Green Lake is one of the most common locations for reports of encampment fires, along with SODO and Pioneer Square.

The city continues to deal with a homelessness crisis that has spanned multiple administrations.

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