Lawmakers seek coverage for 'no man's land' fires - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Lawmakers seek coverage for 'no man's land' fires

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TRI-CITIES, Wash (AP). - Two Yakima Valley lawmakers hope the Legislature will adopt new laws to extend firefighter protection to people living in "no man's lands" outside fire districts.

Rep. Bruce Chandler of Granger, and Sen. Jim Honeyford of Sunnyside, each have introduced bills that would ease the ability of firefighters to respond to fires outside of their jurisdictions.

Both are responding to concerns raised after the Dry Creek Complex Fire last August that burned 49,000 acres of grass and brush between Sunnyside and Hanford. It also destroyed the Silver Dollar Cafe.

The fire highlighted the problem of Eastern Washington rural areas without fire protection. Chandler's bill would create a mechanism for county assessors to collect an annual firefighting assessment from property owners in no man's lands to pay for firefighting services. Honeyford's bills would provide protection and notification for homeowners.