Dent legislation to help mitigate the risk of wildfires through electric utility planning signed by the governor

Legislation sponsored by 13th District Rep. Tom Dent that will mitigate the risk of wildfires through electric utility planning and identification of best management practices was signed into law Thursday by Gov. Jay Inslee.

Dent, who introduced House Bill 1032 and created the bipartisan Wildfire Caucus, has made developing solutions to prevent devastating wildfires in Washington state a priority since he arrived in Olympia.

“There have been devastating wildfires across the country due to electric utilities. This legislation can make a difference. It was supported by the utility industry and was well-worked and vetted. We came up with a good, comprehensive plan to do everything we can to protect our state’s natural resources, property, and human life from wildfires,” said Dent, R-Moses Lake. “This bill sets up a good process for dealing with risk. There are approximately 36,000 miles of powerlines in the state and this should give us a good framework to analyze the risk.”

The new law:

  • Directs the Department of Natural Resources, in consultation with the Energy Resilience and Emergency Management Office, to contract with a consultant to recommend an electric utility wildfire mitigation plan and identify a list of elements to be included in the plans by April 1, 2024.
  • Requires each electric utility to review, revise, and adopt its plan by Oct. 31, 2024, and every three years thereafter.
  • Directs the Utility Wildland Fire Prevention Advisory Committee to meet at least twice a year; provide updates on required tasks; develop recommendations for strengthening state agency coordination of wildland fire risk reduction, prevention, and suppression; and host electric utility plans on its website.

The legislative session is scheduled to adjourn on Sunday, April 23.

Gov. Inslee signs Rep. Dent’s House Bill 1032.


Washington State House Republican Communications