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This last week, Hilary Franz, the public lands commissioner for the Department of Natural Resources, released a report of the progress they were making on climate change goals.

Three-year report shows progress on "tree equity"

 DNR released a three-year report on the climate change goals they had hoped to accomplish, which included:

"Enhanced wildfire protection, conservation of critical habitat, and hundreds of megawatts of new clean energy are among the strides the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is taking toward building a more climate resilient state."
  Some of the climate benchmarks of the report included:
  • "Keeping 95 percent of wildfires under 10 acres
  • Generating at least 500 megawatts of new solar power from state-owned lands
  • Reforesting 1 million acres of forests
  • Conserving or restoring 10,000 acres of kelp forests and eelgrass meadows
  • Mapping sea level projections
  • Increased collaborations with Washington’s tribes"

However, there is little to no mention of forest management, specifically cleaning and preparing large acreages of wildlands to be more fire resistant. One of the 'goals' of DNR under this climate plan is "tree equity," which the state began earlier this year. According to DNR:

"The Washington Tree Equity Collaborative will engage cities, community organizations and stakeholders during the next three years to build rigorous and inclusive urban forestry programs. The Collaborative will support projects that increase tree canopy and urban forest health, which help keep communities cool during heat waves and lead to improved human health outcomes."

In his first term as Governor, Jay Inslee set a goal of increasing the treatment of forest lands to prevent excessive fires from 145K to 200K acres per year. However, by 2016 DNR said they were falling short of the goals, and by 2017 and beyond had stopped listing how much progress was being made.

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Results Washington does not contain any data about how forests are having diseased and dead trees and other combustible materials on the forest floor removed.

  The Washington Policy Center notes that poor forest management is a key reason behind the devastating fires we have seen in our state over the last few years.

LOOK: The most expensive weather and climate disasters in recent decades

Stacker ranked the most expensive climate disasters by the billions since 1980 by the total cost of all damages, adjusted for inflation, based on 2021 data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The list starts with Hurricane Sally, which caused $7.3 billion in damages in 2020, and ends with a devastating 2005 hurricane that caused $170 billion in damage and killed at least 1,833 people. Keep reading to discover the 50 of the most expensive climate disasters in recent decades in the U.S.


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