TUMWATER, Washington — Washington Public Lands Commissioner Hillary Franz is asking the Legislature for $55 million for wildfire response and prevention.
Her request is for the two-year budget that begins in 20-19.
Her proposal adds two new helicopters, provides more training and permanent full-time positions to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the state’s largest wildland firefighting force.
“Our environment is hurting, and it is hurting our economy. Our communities and our taxpayers cannot continue to sustain the losses our forest health crisis is inflicting,” Franz said during a press conference in Tumwater Wednesday.
DNR responded to about 1,700 wildfires this year and Franz says wildfires have cost state $1 billion in recent years.