With two back to back, record-breaking wildfire seasons with effects that linger well into the winter months, it is no surprise that wildfires and healthy forests are a major focus of the 2016 state legislature. Fortunately, The Nature Conservancy has been working on these issues for many years.
Yesterday, the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee held a work session on wildfires, featuring comments by Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark on behalf of the Department of Natural Resources.
DNR is requesting $24 million to reduce the risk of fires through thinning, prescribed burning and investing in our state’s firefighting capacity. Commissioner Goldmark recently wrote about the request in the Seattle Times.
A 2014 study by the Forest Service and The Nature Conservancy found that 2.7 million acres in Eastern Washington require some sort of active management to make the forest more resilient to wildfires, insects and disease exacerbated by a changing climate. We’re looking forward to working with DNR and communities across the state to secure investments in healthy forests and safer communities.