Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz

Franz Works To Engage WA Legislators On Wildfire Issues

Dec 27, 2020
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Covid-related aid and police reform will be two of the major issues before the Washington legislature when it convenes next month.

But newly-reelected Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz hopes legislators will also consider dedicating more funding for wildfire and forest health projects.

Washington Department of Natural Resources

Washington’s Department of Natural Resources on Monday released an updated version of its statewide forest action plan. The plan is designed to help reduce the risk of wildfire over time and help the state adjust its forest management strategies to a changing climate.

WA Lands Commissioner Reviews Unusual Fire Season

Oct 19, 2020
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

The wildfire season in Washington is winding down. Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz says the Department of Natural Resources is sending some of its seasonal firefighters home for the winter.

She stopped in Spokane on Monday to look back on what has been an unusual season.

Spokane County Fire District 9

A Spokane County fire district has announced a multi-year plan to reduce the wildfire threats within its boundaries. The plan has the endorsement of state Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz.

Spokane County Fire District 9 operates nine fire stations in north Spokane County. Many of them are in heavily forested areas.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Washington state legislators will have a difficult task in writing a balanced budget in 2021. A Covid-battered economy has slowed, while the state has spent a lot more money to respond to the virus.

But the state’s lands commissioner hopes this week’s surge in wildfires will convince to spend more money for fire prevention and suppression.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

On Thursday, Governor Jay Inslee will tour the small eastern Washington farming town of Malden, which was overrun by wildfire on Monday.

He’ll see piles of rubble where buildings sat last week and smell the pungent odor of smoke.

He may also meet one of the men who helped to evacuate the town.

U.S. Forest Service

[This story will be updated throughout the day.]

The high winds from Monday have gone, but wildfires continue to burn in eastern Washington and northern Idaho.

Washington Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz tweeted this morning there are nine major fires burning in the Evergreen State. She says 58 fires have been ignited in the last 24 hours.

Courtesy of Idaho Department of Lands

Washington Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz says the agency is planning for a different kind of wildfire season.

“There is no manual that is written on how do you keep your firefighters safe within the context of this pandemic. They fight fires. They’re eating, sleeping, living and fighting those fires in close quarters," Franz said.