House approves Kretz, Maycumber wildfire prevention and relief bills
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SUGGESTED LEAD: Hundreds of people lost homes and property as thousands of acres burned in the Okanogan region of North Central Washington during the summers of 2014 and 2015. Now two state lawmakers from the area have passed legislation to provide relief and prevent further destruction. John Sattgast reports from the state Capitol.
SATTGAST: Two bills emerged from the House with unanimous support in an effort to make forests more resilient to wildfires and help those left homeless from the devastation.
Republican State Representative Joel Kretz of Wauconda is the author of House Bill 1711. The bill provides for better forest management, such as prescribed burns, thinning, re-forestation and site preparation.
KRETZ: “This is an attempt to make things a little more strategic out into the future on – not only are we treating lands, but we're doing it in a strategic manner where we have fire breaks and a chance to stop some of these fires.”
MAYCUMBER: “Wildfires have left hundreds of families homeless in our rural communities. And we've been devastated in the last few years. My bill recognizes that wildfire prevention and response activities in rural communities are a mechanism to prevent homelessness.”
SATTGAST: Maycumber's bill would allow the state Department of Natural Resources to allocate funds for radio communication equipment, education and technical outreach, and wildfire risk prevention measures.
The 7th District lawmakers say they hope never witness another wildfire like the ones in 2014 and 2015. But if it happens, they want the resources to be ready.
Both bills are now heading to the Senate for further consideration. John Sattgast, Olympia.
###Washington State House Republican Communications
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