Public Lands Commissioner Goldmark calls for increase in state firefighting budget

State Public Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark

State Public Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark

Although civic and business leaders are working to identify ways to improve the health of forests in Washington and reduce risks of catastrophic wildfire, there’s also an understanding that fires will always happen.

The extent of the destruction when fire breaks out depends a lot on the availability of trained personnel and modern equipment.

Washington Public Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark is calling on legislators to beef up the state’s firefighting budget with a $24 million increase in spending, nearly double what is currently spent. From the Snoqualmie Valley Record:

“The Evergreen State is in danger of becoming the Wildfire State,” Goldmark said during a Thursday morning press conference on the budget request. …

…Goldmark said professional firefighters are needed to carry out training and requested more people, modern equipment, and more safety tools so that firefighters won’t be lacking resources and will be as safe as possible when combating wildfires. Currently, the state budget for fire fighting is $27.2 million.

Goldmark’s proposal would target new spending in order to increase the readiness of responders statewide.

The proposed budget increase is divided into chunks to address certain issues. Approximately $7 million is proposed for joint training which includes DNR, fire district volunteers, tribes, and National Guard. Other sections include $6 million for improved wildfire prevention and fuel reduction and another $6 million for modern equipment for first responders.

Read more in the full article in the Snoqualmie Valley Record >>