State unveils plan to better prevent and respond to wildfire

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The state is months away from wildfire season, but Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz has proposed a plan to strengthen the ways that Washington can prevent and respond to wildfires.

Franz released the 10-year plan last week as part of her $55 million budget request to the Legislature to improve the state’s firefighting abilities in the face of climate change and more residents moving into fire-prone areas.

The plan would add 30 full-time and 40 seasonal firefighters to the Department of Natural Resources, and add two helicopters to the firefighting fleet.

It would also create a wildland fire-training academy that different agencies could use.