AP NEWS

Public Lands commissioner proposes fund to fight wildfires

December 2, 2019

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The state’s commissioner of Public Lands wants to raise $63 million each year to fight wildfires and take steps to prevent them in the first place.

Commissioner Hilary Franz says Monday’s proposal would be the largest investment Washington has ever made to expand its wildfire team and restore the health of forests.

The bill will be introduced in the state House of Representatives by Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, D-West Seattle.

Money for the fund will come from a surcharge of $5 per year on each policy sold by property and casualty insurance companies across the state. Franz estimated it will cost the average household about $1 per month, based on one homeowner’s policy and two auto policies.

Senate Minority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, criticized the bill as a bad idea.