WA bill would create Rangeland Fire Protection Association

By on Friday, January 12th, 2024 in Columbia Basin News More Top Stories

OLYMPIA – Washington Rep. Tom Dent (R-Moses Lake) wants to best protect against wildland fires in Washington state by public-private partnerships. He suggests local farmers and ranchers be allowed to work directly with firefighters on the initial attack when a fire breaks out.

“They’re going to be first on the fire, and then when the fire department, DNR (Department of Natural Resources) or someone else shows up to take over the fire, they can keep these folks there,” he adds. “They know the countryside; they know the micro-weather – any issues that might be out there.”

Dent’s House Bill 1971 would create a pilot project with the formation of a public-private Rangeland Fire Protection Association. He adds the RFPA would be an asset to stop a fire before it’s allowed to grow.

The bill gets its first hearing today (Friday) before the House Agriculture and Natural Resource Committee.