Commissioner Franz Applauds Senate, House Budget Proposals
March 26, 2021
Biennial budgets include $125 million to boost wildfire response, forest restoration and community resilience
Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, who leads the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and our state’s wildfire fighting force, today applauded both Senate and House 2021-23 budget proposals, which include $125 million to fund proactive investments in wildfire response, forest restoration and community resilience:
“I am very pleased both the House and Senate have put forward transformative investments to reduce wildfire risk and protect our communities. Their budgets – which make historic investments to fight and prevent catastrophic fires – are a credit to the coalition of firefighters, public health advocates, environmentalists, forest products businesses, and others who have championed the need for urgent action to prevent the Evergreen State from turning charcoal black.
“This initial investment is a crucial step toward putting the boots on the ground and planes in the air we need to change the trajectory of our wildfire crisis.
“But, as I have stressed and our firefighters know, a one-time infusion will not get us the long-term wildfire threat reduction and forest health results we all want – and our communities deserve.
“As the state budget is negotiated over the next few weeks, I will continue working in partnership with legislators to secure a long-term funding solution.”
House Bill 1168 would create long-term funding of $125 million every two years to fund wildfire response, forest restoration and community resilience work throughout the state. The bill passed the House unanimously and was moved out of Senate Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources and Parks Committee March 25. It is now awaiting a hearing in the Senate Ways and Means Committee.