4/19/21 | The Columbian
In the process, lawmakers have recognized the threat posed by wildfires that are increasing in frequency and intensity.
Overwhelming legislative support for House Bill 1168 demonstrates the depth of concern about wildfires in Washington.
“Washington is on the brink of breaking the cycle of inaction that has created our wildfire crisis,” said Hilary Franz, commissioner of public lands. “We are one step closer to protecting our communities, our forests, and the air we breathe.”
The bill passed the House of Representatives by a 96-0 count (Rep. Vicki Kraft, R-Vancouver, had an excused absence), and passed the Senate, 49-0. It now returns to the House for consideration of amendments approved by the Senate.
In the process, lawmakers have recognized the threat posed by wildfires that are increasing in frequency and intensity. According to the Department of Natural Resources, the department headed by Franz, an average of 86,000 acres burned annually in Washington during the 1990s. The average has been 488,000 acres over the past five years, including 812,000 acres in 2020. For context: Clark County covers about 420,000 acres. READ ABOUT HOUSE BILL ON WILDFIRES