Committee approves Chandler’s fire protection proposal

 

The House Judiciary Committee today unanimously voted to pass a bill to address fire suppression efforts outside a fire protection service district.

House Bill 1506, sponsored by Rep. Bruce Chandler, would give property owners outside fire protection districts choices to receive fire suppression services and potential buyers the knowledge about land outside the fire service district.

“We must allow property owners to protect their land from fires and encourage firefighters who are available to help put out a fire,” said Chandler, R-Granger. “There is a need for a consistent statewide policy for this stranded land and how fire agencies and property owners can and should respond. This legislation makes a step in that direction.”

Specifically, the proposal encourages land owners outside current fire service districts to join a jurisdiction, or make an agreement with the nearest fire protection authority to protect their property. The bill would also reduce liability for fire protection services provided outside a jurisdiction. Sellers of land outside fire protection districts would be required to disclose to buyers the status of fire protection services.

In 2009, there was a forest fire near Dry Creek in Yakima County outside a fire protection district. Citizens expressed frustration more was not done to contain the fire.

“There has been quite a bit of confusion over the years about protection of these properties, and we must clarify what the response should be to protect property as well as the public,” Chandler said. “We shouldn't let a wildfire grow simply because it's outside a fire district. This costs more and increases the risk to people and property.”

The legislation now goes to the House Rules Committee, which will determine if and when it will come up for a vote by the full House of Representatives.

Contact: Sarah Lamb, Public Information Officer, (360) 786-7720

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov