House of Representatives
Office of Program Research
Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee
This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.
Brief Description: Establishing a prescribed burn certification program at the department of natural resources.
Sponsors: Representatives Orcutt, Chapman, Maycumber, Tharinger, Dent, Kretz, Blake, Fitzgibbon and Muri.
Hearing Date: 1/25/18
Staff: Rebecca Lewis (786-7339).
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has direct charge and responsibility over all matters relating to forest fire services in the state. The DNR is also responsible for issuing and regulating permits for certain burning activities on lands under the DNR's fire protection authority, including silvicultural or prescribed burning. The DNR maintains and implements the Smoke Management Plan to regulate burning on DNR-protected lands, and to meet requirements of the state Clean Air Act.
Prescribed burning is the controlled application of fire to wildland fuels under specific environmental conditions, which allow the fire to be confined to a predetermined area, and at the same time to produce the fireline intensity and rate of spread required to attain planned management objectives. Prescribed burn project managers are often referred to as "burn bosses."
Summary of Bill:
The DNR must create a non-mandatory prescribed burn manager certification program (program) for those who practice prescribed burning in the state. The program must include training on all relevant aspects of prescribed fire in Washington. The DNR may also develop an equivalency test for experienced prescribed burn managers. Certified prescribed burn managers are granted additional liability protection for permitted burns.
The DNR may adopt rules to create the program, set periodic renewal criteria, and adopt a decertification process for certified prescribed burn managers who violate any forest protection laws or rules. Any rules adopted should be developed in consultation with similar programs in other states.
Fiscal Note: Requested on January 16, 2018.
Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.