Governor signs Rep. Dent’s legislation to improve efficiency and effectiveness of combatting wildfires

Legislation sponsored by Rep. Tom Dent to improve wildfire preparedness and prevention was recently signed into law by Gov. Inslee.

House Bill 2561 will have the commissioner of public lands direct the wildland fire advisory committee to review, analyze, and make recommendations on wildfire prevention, response, and suppression activities. The advisory committee will also evaluate the existing fire mobilization process and identify potential efficiencies or other reforms that may lead to a more effective, coordinated wildfire response.

“The wildfires in our state have been devastating the last few years. I am constantly working on ways to strengthen our fight against wildfires and improving forest health,” said Dent R-Moses Lake. “During the interim we found some areas in our wildfire response and initial attack that we can improve upon. We want to build on that.”

The advisory committee must make recommendations by Nov. 15, 2019. The Department of Natural Resources is required to provide a status report of the advisory committee review by Dec. 31, 2018.

“This committee will also examine the value of community programs that educate homeowners and engage in preventative projects in areas where there is a wildfire risk and establish plans to help protect non-English speaking residents during wildfires,” Dent said.

There were 1,289 wildfires in Washington state in 2017, burning 271,431 acres.

The bill takes effect 90 days after the adjournment of the regular session. The Legislature adjourned on March 8.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov