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DNR hopes to be financially ready for the next fire season

Deer Park Tribune of Deer Park, Washington

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After consecutive years of record wildfire damage, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is asking legislators for help controlling future wildfires.

The agency is asking the Legislature for an additional $24.2 million to equip and train more in-state wildland firefighters and make forests and communities more resistant to the megablazes that have swept Washington. DNR is responsible for preventing and fighting wildfires on 13 million acres of private, state and tribal-owned forestlands.

Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark unveiled DNR's funding request at events in Spokane and Issaquah last week.

Joining Goldmark were representatives of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, the Spokane Tribe of Indians, Eastside Fire and Rescue, Forterra, Kittitas County, Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, Sustainable Northwest, The Nature Conservancy. Trust for Public Lands

Washington Environmental Council, Washington Forest Protection Association, Washington State Fire Chiefs, Spokane Valley Fire Department and several Spokane County fire districts.

"We will not let the Evergreen State become the Wildfire State," Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark said. "We must confront the reality of a longer, more difficult fire season. That's why I am making an urgent request now to the Legislature for more people, equipment and training to fight Washington's fires."

These recommendations outline a plan for the opportunity of success at a time when it is most needed. It provides an opportunity for different outcomes in all aspects related to the wildfire problem," said." Dave LaFave of the Washington Fire Chiefs Association.

"The funding package would provide aid to local fire districts, modernize communication equipment, add aviation experts to dispatch

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Original Publication Date: November 4, 2015

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