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News >Advocacy > WUI Fix Bill Still Moving

WUI Fix Bill Still Moving

In 2018, the Senate passed SB 6109, amending RCW 19.27.560 and requiring local governments to implement certain parts of the International Wildland Urban Interface Code (WUI).
2 Feb 2024
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In 2018, the Senate passed SB 6109, amending RCW 19.27.560 and requiring local governments to implement certain parts of the International Wildland Urban Interface Code (WUI) after DNR completed a statewide map identifying the wildland-urban interface areas. Unfortunately, the map that DNR created is not functional for the purposes that SB 6109 envisioned – that is, making homes built in areas at higher risk from wildland fire meet the WUI requirements so they are more likely to survive and safer to defend. DNR’s statewide WUI map classifies the majority of the state as a wildland-urban interface and is based largely on the location of existing structures rather than actual wildland fire hazard and risk.

This year, the Senate introduced SB 6120 to fix the problem.

SB 6120 changes the map that DNR must create in RCW 19.27.560 to a risk and hazard-based map of the state that will utilize known criteria like terrain, climate, vegetative cover types, prevailing winds, and others to gauge the risk levels and identify areas of low, moderate, high, and very high hazard. Counties will be able to use that map effectively to apply the WUI requirements in RCW 19.27.560 for safer construction materials and techniques, as well as better access for emergency vehicles in more fire-prone areas.

Also included in the bill is the ability for map amendments and for local governments, some of which have already worked on mapping their areas for wildland fire hazards and risks, to use their maps instead. It also prohibits the State Building Code Council from adopting other provisions of the WUI into the state building code but preserves a local government’s right to do so.

SB 6120 must be passed this year as the existing statute requirements instruct counties to impose the WUI regulations more broadly than intended and would create widespread, unnecessary, costly construction requirements.

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