Radio Report: Gov. Jay Inslee signs Rep. Mary Dye’s bill to reimburse local fire districts that use aerial suppression to douse wildland fires

Local fire districts that use airplanes and helicopters on the initial attack of a wildland fire will soon be reimbursed for those costs by the state. John Sattgast reports from the state Capitol.

 Radio Report Transcript

SATTGAST: Aviation fire suppression is expensive. But it’s even more costly for fire districts to wait for state mobilization while a small brush fire becomes a destructive inferno.

On Monday, Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill by Pomeroy Representative Mary Dye that solves that problem. The state will reimburse fire districts who deploy aerial suppression when a fire initially breaks out.

DYE: “I do believe that with this one-stop gap, empowering our local fire districts and our fire chiefs to get on these fires immediately with aviation assets, we’re going to see a lot fewer large conflagrations.”

SATTGAST: Asotin County Fire District 1 Chief Noel Hardin first suggested the bill to Dye in 2016, but it stalled year after year while wildfires grew bigger.

HARDIN: “And we couldn’t afford to spend thousands of dollars on air assets, so this is a great gap for us before a fire maybe gets to that state mobilization level.”

SATTGAST: This year, the bill passed the Legislature unanimously. Dye says it will save millions of dollars in suppression costs, as well as lives and property. John Sattgast, the state Capitol.


Washington State House Republican Communications
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