Washington State House Bill 1168: Concerning long-term forest health and the reduction of wildfire dangers

HB 1168 was delivered to Governor Jay Inslee on April 26 to sign into law. The Bill focuses on the concerning increase of forestland and rangeland wildfires. The impact of wildfires has continued to grow larger, more intense, and destructive in the last four decades throughout Washington State. It is a trend that is alarming, with no plans on decreasing unless policies are put in place to help. Wildfires have a significant impact on fish and wildlife and devastating state, federal, tribal, and private lands. Homes and properties of residents get destroyed, and lives are lost. The after-effects of the fires can cause harmful smoke to pollute the air, pollute waters, the risk of flooding and landslides increased, and the economy is damaged.

What is causing the increase in wildfires? The Bill states that “these uncharacteristic wildfires are the result of a combination of climate change-driven drought.” Hotter temperature and windstorms are also a factor, along with human development patterns and land use planning and activities; and where uncharacteristic fires occur in forests, by past fire suppression and departures from native ecosystem structure and function.”

Wildfires pose a significant threat to the safety and health of Washington residents’ life and property, along with our State’s wildlife habitat. If there is a continuation not to help decrease the effects of wildfires, our communities will continue to feel the “impact and devastation of flames and smoke.”

You can read the full HB -1168 here: http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2021-22/Pdf/Amendments/Senate/1168-S2%20AMS%20ENGR%20S2613.E.pdf