Dent’s small forest landowner legislation signed into law

Small forest landowners will get some assistance in reducing wildfire risk on their property with the signing into law of House Bill 1924.

The governor signed the bill sponsored by Rep. Tom Dent, with Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz in attendance.

Dent says the law will exempt small forest landowners from some of the provisions in the Farm Labor Contractor Act, allowing them to clean up their property more efficiently as they work to reduce wildfire risk.

“This law simplifies regulations for small forest landowners who want to clean up their property and make it more 'firewise.' We have landowners in Kittitas County who have been trying to clean up their property for years, but they were being penalized under the current system,” said Dent, R-Moses Lake. “We do not want to penalize landowners or have a system that discourages them from following the rules, especially when it comes to reducing wildfire risks. The forest fuel cleanup business was being pushed underground and eliminating some of the bureaucracy surrounding those rules should address that problem.”

The exemption put in place would allow small forest landowners to hire someone without being subject to the farm labor contract statute, which can cost several hundred dollars and could require posting a bond and getting additional insurance.

The bill also directs the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to study the feasibility of multiyear burn permits and look at a reduced fee structure.

The bill passed through the Legislature unanimously. It takes effect on July 22.


Washington State House Republican Communications