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Bob Larson Wildfire Bills Pass in House
by Bob Larson, click here for bio

Program: Washington State Farm Bureau Report
Date: March 13, 2017

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I’m Bob Larson. After back to back wildfire season in which hundreds of people lost homes, thousands of acres were scorched, and lives lost, a pair of bills have made it through the House for consideration in the Senate.

Wauconda Representative Joel Kretz sponsored HB 1711 that provides better forest management, like prescribed burns, thinning, re-forestation, and site prep …

JOEL KRETZ … “It’s turned into a pretty complicated bill. You know, we’ve been working on forest health issues with the idea of preventing catastrophic fires. This is continuing the work of the last few years of making sure we’ve got everything prioritized right on what kind of work that we’re doing on prevention and then also on the firefighting end of it.”

Kretz says the bill has received a lot of input …

JOEL KRETZ … “Lots of discussion, a lot of people involved. It’s turned into a really complicated bill with a lot of different players in it. We’re trying to get language that will probably involve not only our local districts, but local contractors where they’re higher on the priority list. In past years, we’ve seen the need for say a Cat and they’re on their way from Oregon and we’re trying to stop that kind of nonsense and put our local people to work because they know the country and they know what they’re doing and they’re quick on the fire. So, we’ve got to make sure that we’re making those kind of decisions right.”

The other bill deals with allocating funds for better radio communications, education, technical outreach, and risk prevention. Both bills emerged from the House with unanimous support.

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