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Wildfire Concerns Grow for Next Summer

EcologyWA via flickr
Carlton Complex

The head of the department of natural resources is asking state lawmakers to provide more money for efforts to both reduce the threat of wildfires and be able to fight them next year.

Washington State has had two catastrophic wildlife seasons in a row that consumed a total of 1. 5 million acres of forest and grasslands.

Peter Goldmark worries that next year might be even worse.

He is asking the legislature to approve a total of $24 million to get more firefighters, improve training, get more equipment, and do more forest and private land treatments to reduce the threat of fire.

"They’re aware the cost of fighting the fires in the state was $300 million, the state’s share was $160 million, so my $24 million request is small to do the work, if you haven’t trained together and done the capacity.”

Goldmark says compounding the funding issue is the fact the US Forest Service must pull money from other projects each year to use for fire suppression, money that could be better spent preventing fires through various means.

Steve was part of the Spokane Public Radio family for many years before he came on air in 1999. His wife, Laurie, produced Radio Ethiopia in the late 1980s through the '90s, and Steve used to “lurk in the shadowy world” of Weekend SPR. Steve has done various on air shifts at the station, including nearly 15 years as the local Morning Edition host. Currently, he is the voice of local weather and news during All Things Considerd, writing, editing, producing and/or delivering newscasts and features for both KPBX and KSFC. Aside from SPR, Steve ,who lives in the country, enjoys gardening, chickens, playing and listening to music, astronomy, photography, sports cars and camping.