Wilcox introduces fire protection legislation

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CONTACT: John Handy, Communications Director | 360-786-5758

Wilcox introduces fire protection legislation

Rep. J.T. Wilcox, R-Yelm, introduced a bill to allow a state agency discretion when fighting fires on unprotected land.

House Bill 2440 would allow the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) the ability to fight wildfires on land managed by the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW).

Currently, the DNR is only authorized to prevent and suppress fires on timber land, which the agency manages. If a fire continues into non-forested lands, DFW must take over as it manages those public lands.

“The current situation can mean that brush land is left to burn, and it represents a gap in fire protection for our rural areas,” Wilcox said. “This legislation would promote cooperation between Fish and Wildlife with the DNR and is a good opportunity for us to use state services more effectively and do the best job of protecting public assets.”

The legislation has no fiscal impact to the state budget. If DNR provides fire services on non-forested public lands managed by another state agency, the DNR would be fully reimbursed for the work through a cooperative agreement.

The bill passed out of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on Jan. 18 with bipartisan and unanimous support. It will now be considered for action by the full House of Representatives.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov