Commentary: Here’s how we foot the bill for reducing wildfires in Washington

  • Source: Kent Reporter
  • Published: 05/12/2022 11:36 AM

Thinning public woodlands to remove millions of dead trees is a way to generate much needed cash to reduce wildfire risks, improve forest health, and protect rural homeowners and farms. It is money the U.S. Forest Service and Washington’s Department of Natural Resources don’t have because the bulk of their funds are tied up fighting fires. Our state’s wildfire severity has worsened in recent years. The 2020 fire season was particularly destructive. Over 1,250 square miles burned in more than 1,600 fires — killing an infant and destroying 298 homes. One blaze nearly wiped out Malden, a small town 40 miles south of Spokane. Choking smoke from those infernos is a health hazard. For two of the past three years, Washington has experienced some of the worst air quality in the world due to wildfires, Washington’s Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz told state lawmakers in 2021.


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