Commissioner Franz Statement on Federal Relief Approval for Communities Devastated by Wildfire
February 4, 2021
On Thursday, February 4, Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, who leads the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and our state’s wildfire fighting force, released the following statement on the Biden administration’s approval of federal disaster relief for Washington communities impacted during the 2020 wildfire season:
“I will never forget the devastation I saw first-hand in communities like Malden and Pine City – nor how frustrating it was to see federal aid withheld for so many months. While these communities are in the beginning phases of recovery, this long overdue support is a crucial step toward helping residents rebuild their lives and livelihoods. I applaud the Biden administration for this action and the governor for his advocacy on behalf of those who were impacted.”
“While this relief is welcome news, it is also a reminder we need to do more to address our wildfire crisis. I urge the state Legislature to fully fund the wildfire response, forest restoration and community resilience work needed to fight, prevent, and recover from wildfires across our state.”
Commissioner Franz is asking the state Legislature to pass House Bill 1168 this session, which would create dedicated funding for wildfire response, forest health, and community resilience.
DNR donated a surplus fire engine to Malden in December after the town’s fire station, including its only fire engine, was destroyed in last year’s fire.
Deputy Communications Director