Wildfire bill moves from House to Senate

Legislator: Rep. Tom Dent
Run Time: 55 seconds
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Growing concerns in the state over catastrophic wildfires have prompted legislation that would protect ranchers and their livestock.  Ruth Johnson reports from Olympia.

Johnson: During the big fires in the summer of 2015, there was a catch-22 that confronted ranchers with animals.  With the fire burning all around, their livestock trapped on public lands, they’re hands were tied, by DNR rules.  The DNR denies ranchers entry to the land during a fire.

Dent: “The reality of it is, everybody does it anyway.  So, when they do that, then they’re basically breaking the law and there’s been some issues with some arrests and some confrontations with personnel.  So, it seems to me the thing to do is set it up where it is legal.”

Johnson: That is what Republican Representative Tom Dent did.  He, also, is a rancher.  He understands. His House Bill 2925 allows landowners to make the rescue of their animals, but it puts the liability on them if something negative should happen during a fire.  It also requires that rescue efforts not interfere with fire crews.  The measure passed the House and is headed to the Senate.

Ruth Johnson, Olympia.


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