DNR Presents Eastern Washington Fire Districts With Surplus Wildfire Engines
News Date: 
April 18, 2022
   

The Department of Natural Resources presented four Eastern Washington fire districts with surplus wildfire engines in a Spokane-based event on Monday, part of the agency’s annual effort to strengthen fire response in wildfire-prone rural areas.
 
“Local fire districts are an invaluable part of this great state’s efforts to fight wildfire,” Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz said. “They’re often the first lines of defense, able to reach ignitions early and keep them small. That then benefits DNR by reducing response times to wildfires, thereby reducing the potential for larger, more severe wildfires. It is truly a win-win situation.”
 
As Washington’s fire seasons have become more and more severe, rapid response time grows ever more critical. Just this past season, firefighters battled 1,872 fires across Washington – the second-most wildfires in record state history. More than 1.5 million acres have burned over the past two seasons. And yet, last year DNR was able to keep 94 percent of its fires to 10 acres or less, thanks in part to the agency’s fire district partners.
 
Providing Assistance to Frontline Communities
These fire engines were made available through a DNR program instated under Commissioner Franz. In 2017, the state Legislature authorized DNR to transfer ownership of surplus engines to rural fire districts in wildfire-prone areas at no cost to them. The program benefits towns, as well as DNR, our state’s wildfire fighting force, by reducing response times to wildfires, thereby reducing the potential for larger, more severe wildfires.
 
Commissioner Franz is committed to maintaining and expanding programs like this one by providing dedicated funding for firefighters and forest health across the state, ensuring Washington’s towns have the tools they need to be prepared to defend against wildfire, and to prevent massive fires from beginning in the first place.
 
Last year, DNR provided surplus engines to 17 rural fire districts around the state. This year, the agency will transfer 10 of its older engines to fire districts across Washington. Thanks to HB 1168, DNR hopes to more than double that number next fire season.
 
About DNR’s Wildfire Mission
Led by Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, DNR is responsible for preventing and fighting wildfires on 13 million acres of private, state and tribal-owned forestlands. DNR is the state’s wildfire fighting force and participates in Washington's coordinated interagency approach to firefighting.
 
###
 
MEDIA CONTACT
Thomas Kyle-Milward
Communications Manager
Cell: 360-529-7184