3/16/2021 | Olympia | The Spokane – Review
OLYMPIA – After a historically deadly and destructive 2020 wildfire season, lawmakers are looking at ways to invest in forest health and wildfire prevention. A bill that passed the state House of Representatives unanimously last week might do just that.
The bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Larry Springer, D-Kirkland, and Rep. Joel Kretz, R-Wauconda, would set up a dedicated funding account, investing about $125 million every two years for wildfire response, forest health and community resilience – something Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, legislators and advocates have been pushing for years.
Franz thinks this year is different.
“The Legislature and the public finally woke up to what we’ve known for a long time,” she said. “We are basing our wildfire response on hope and luck and prayers, and our time is running out.”
The bill would be the biggest investment in wildfire prevention and forest health the Legislature’s ever funded. Kretz said he has been introducing less ambitious bills on this topic for years, but “this is the big one that really needs to happen to make measurable impacts.” (MORE WILDFIRE FUNDING)