Forest health hazards - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Forest health hazards

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - The state's public lands commissioner is proposing a forest health hazard warning for parts of eastern Washington.

Peter Goldmark said Monday he's worried about catastrophic wildfires in this state, as acres of trees in eastern Washington have been killed or damaged by insects and diseases in the past decade. He wants to get ahead of the problem.

A panel of experts recommended a hazard warning for eastern Okanogan and western Ferry counties because of concerns with western spruce budworm. Goldmark wants to expand that warning to include pine bark beetles in parts of Klickitat and Yakima counties, among others.

A warning designation allows the state to focus resources on the problem. The state plans to hold public hearings on the issue next week.