Northeast WA Radio Communications get $280,000 Boost for Wildland Firefighting
June 5, 2018
DNR Announces Grant Recipients in Okanogan, Ferry, Stevens and Pend Oreille Counties
Today, the Department of Natural Resources announced 14 fire response agencies that will receive grant funding for equipment to improve firefighting safety and effectiveness.
Northeast Washington counties face high wildfire danger, yet local economic challenges can make it difficult to pay for new radio equipment. Last legislative session House Bill 2010 provided the Department of Natural resources with $280,000 for competitive grants to meet this need.
The Commissioner of Public Lands, Hilary Franz, oversees the Department of Natural Resources and its responsibility to prevent and fight wildfires on 13 million acres of private, state and tribal-owned forestlands.
“With this equipment responders from different agencies will be better able to coordinate across the rugged landscapes where so much of this work happens,” said Franz. “It’s another step toward the sort of collaboration we’ll need to meet the growing challenge of intense wildfires.”
The grants are funding radio communications projects for: Colville Fire Department, Douglas-Okanogan County Fire District #15, Joint Fire Protection District Ferry County #3 and Stevens County #8, Okanogan County EMS, Okanogan County fire districts #7 and #12, Pend Oreille County EMS, Pend Oreille County Fire District #3, and Stevens County fire districts #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, and #10.
According to State Representative Jacquelin Maycumber (R), the bill’s sponsor, “This is a great example of effective use of government resources to be proactive in emergency responses. Communication funding is a necessity for the health and safety of our first responders and communities.”
There are more than 500 local fire districts and agencies across Washington. The Department of Natural Resources administers statewide wildland firefighting support for training and equipment, such as engines, hoses and safety gear.
In an effort to further enhance collaborative and effective wildland fire management the Department is further working with local agencies and others to develop a Wildland Fire Protection Strategic Plan.
DNR wildfire and agency leadership
Commissioner Franz’s agency comprises the state’s largest on-call fire department, which participates in Washington's coordinated interagency approach to firefighting. The Department also manages 3 million acres of state trust lands, 92 state natural areas, rule administration across 12 million acres of Washington forestlands – including rules to prevent wildfires - and statewide forest health efforts.