Maycumber bill would help reduce wildfire fuel loads in state forests

Legislator: Rep. Jacquelin Maycumber
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Lawmakers in the state House of Representatives have approved a bill aimed at reducing high fuel loads in the forests which have contributed to major wildfires across Washington. John Sattgast reports from the state Capitol.

SATTGAST: The 2015 wildfire season was the largest in Washington's history burning more than one-million acres, destroying more than 150 homes, cabins and outbuildings in Okanogan County, and killing three firefighters.

Representative Jacquelin Maycumber of Republic says it's unacceptable to wait for an environmental impact statement to reduce dry, dead firewood and brush while the state's forests burn. Her legislation would allow the Department of Fish and Wildlife to use best available land management practices to address high fuel loads in forests susceptible to wildfires.

MAYCUMBER: “And the reason we need this is because we have been plagued with millions of acres of fires. And when fires burn at that catastrophic level, what we have is, we have generations without habitat on these acres. And particularly in my district, we have what is called a 'moonscape' where no natural habitat will grow for my children's lifetime.”

SATTGAST: Maycumber says it's important the state become proactive in protecting state lands.

The bill was unanimously approved in the House. It now goes to the Senate for further consideration. John Sattgast, Olympia.


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