Hilary Franz

WA Wildfire Season Already Active; Covid Complicates It

May 14, 2020
Washington Department of Natural Resources

Washington state land managers say the wildfire season is already far more active than in normal years.

The Department of Natural Resources reports 263 fires, as of Tuesday. That’s about two-and-a-half times the usual rate for this time of year.

TVW

Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced today [Monday] that some of the state’s recreation areas will reopen, beginning May 5.

"The restrictions being lifted today include day use of our state parks, day use of our state lands that are managed by the Department of Natural Resources and day use of state fish and wildlife areas. This includes fishing, hunting and the ability to play golf, as well," Inslee said.

Washington Department of Natural Resources

Washington Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz says rural residents are losing their homeowners' insurance coverage because of concerns about wildfire danger.

Franz says the non-renewal notices came despite the fact some homeowners have worked to make their property more fire resistant.

Washington Could See Difficult Wildfire Season

Feb 24, 2020
Jacob Frank/National Park Service

The traditional fire season is still a few months away, but Washington’s Department of Natural Resources is trying to forecast what to expect.

Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz says last year was a relatively light season, but still significant.

Washington Department of Natural Resources

Washington Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz has unveiled a Plan for Climate Resilience for the state.

Franz’s plan proposes a range of ways Washington can protect itself from the effects of climate change. That includes a strategy Franz has been vocal about: using timber harvests and controlled burns on state forest lands to prevent the frequency and intensity of wildfire.

Washington Department of Natural Resources

Washington Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz is in Spokane building support for her proposal to create a state fund for wildfire prevention and forest health projects.

Franz toured a parcel of private land near Riverside State Park this morning [Wednesday] where crews are thinning trees and removing debris.

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.

Washington Department of Natural Resources

Today on Inland Journal, two segments about the health of forests in our region.

Later, we’ll hear part of a session from a Western Governors Association workshop conducted Tuesday in Post Falls. It focused on improving the resilience of forests in the region.

But first, this week, Washington state Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz released a plan to create a dedicated fund to pay for forest health and wildfire prevention. She proposes a surcharge on property and casualty insurance premiums. Her office estimates the increased cost for the average household will be a little more than a dollar a month and raise about $63 million a year.

Photo by Jennifer Roseman

The Washington Department of Natural Resources is making money these days by leasing land that is used for generating renewable energy.

The money raised goes to the state and school funding.

Photo by Jennifer Roseman

Washington state Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz was in Spokane Friday for the opening of a plant she says is pushing the cutting edge of wood manufacturing.

The use of cross laminated timber is a new trend where wood panels are made from gluing layers of solid sawn lumber together.

Department of Natural Resources

All the rain we expected this week is in direct contrast to last year, when Washington was dry and wildfires made the air the most hazardous in the nation because of the smoke.

Washington Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz says this year’s fire season has turned out much different than she anticipated back in the spring, when a record 54 fires had been reported by the second week of March.

Washington Department of Natural Resources

Washington state Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz is commenting on President Trump’s tweet Wednesday that he may cut off FEMA funding to California for wildfires if the state doesn’t “get its act together.”

Washington Lands Commissioner On Preparing For Wildfires

Nov 29, 2018
Washington Department of Natural Resources

For several days recently, the country’s eyes were glued to the wildfires burning in California as they destroyed thousands of homes and killed dozens of people. The fires ignited a national debate about the need to be more aggressive in managing forests to lower the risk of fire.

The catalysts in Washington were the wildfire seasons of 2014 and 2015. Hundreds of thousands of acres burned during hot, dry, windy summers in the eastern and central parts of the state.

Wa Department of Natural Resources

President Trump went on the record last week in criticizing California officials for what he said were bad forest management practices that contributed to the horrific fires in that state.

Washington state officials say they are making a point of focusing on forest health related to wildfire prevention.

Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz says major efforts have been underway for about a year to focus on the fire threat posed to the forests of eastern Washington.