forest thinning

Washington Department of Natural Resources

Wildfire prevention will be a prominent part of the Washington legislature’s agenda in 2020. Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz is proposing the state create a new Wildfire Prevention and Preparedness Account.

“Every year, on average, we’re spending about $153 million just to respond to fires," Franz said. "The fact is we will not be able to change the trajectory we’re on of increasing wildfires throughout our state and the increasing cost of wildfires unless we start getting at the front end of the problem.”

She is proposing a surcharge on property and casualty insurance premiums.

Photo courtesy WildEarth Guardians via Flickr

A forest ecologist says that requests for more forest thinning to reduce the threat of fire danger are misguided.

The number of wildfires burning across the west has prompted some lawmakers to call for more timber harvest to reduce the threat of wildlife by reducing the number of dead and dying trees, many of them suffering the effects of bark beetles.

One ecologist says that the real issue is a warmer climate, and calls for more thinning are just a way to please the timber industry.