(1) Prior to issuing a forest health hazard warning or forest health hazard order, the commissioner shall consider the findings and recommendations of the forest health technical advisory committee and shall consult with county government officials, forest landowners and forestland managers, consulting foresters, and other interested parties to gather information on the threat, opportunities or constraints on treatment options, and other information they may provide. The commissioner, or a designee, shall conduct a public hearing in a county within the geographical area being considered.

Terms Used In Washington Code 76.06.180

  • Affidavit: A written statement of facts confirmed by the oath of the party making it, before a notary or officer having authority to administer oaths.
  • Appeal: A request made after a trial, asking another court (usually the court of appeals) to decide whether the trial was conducted properly. To make such a request is "to appeal" or "to take an appeal." One who appeals is called the appellant.
  • Real property: Land, and all immovable fixtures erected on, growing on, or affixed to the land.
(2) The commissioner of public lands may issue a forest health hazard warning when he or she deems such action is necessary to manage the development of a threat to forest health or address an existing threat to forest health. A decision to issue a forest health hazard warning may be based on existing forest stand conditions and:
(a) The presence of an uncharacteristic insect or disease outbreak that has or is likely to (i) spread to multiple forest ownerships and cause extensive damage to forests; or (ii) significantly increase forest fuel that is likely to further the spread of uncharacteristic fire;
(b) When, due to extensive physical damage from wind or ice storm or other cause, there are (i) insect populations building up to large scale levels; or (ii) significantly increased forest fuels that are likely to further the spread of uncharacteristic fire; or
(c) When otherwise determined by the commissioner to be appropriate.
(3) The commissioner of public lands may issue a forest health hazard order when he or she deems such action is necessary to address a significant threat to forest health. A decision to issue a forest health hazard order may be based on existing forest stand conditions and:
(a) The presence of an uncharacteristic insect or disease outbreak that has (i) spread to multiple forest ownerships and has caused and is likely to continue to cause extensive damage to forests; or (ii) significantly increased forest fuels that are likely to further the spread of uncharacteristic fire;
(b) When, due to extensive physical damage from wind or ice storm or other cause (i) insect populations are causing extensive damage to forests; or (ii) significantly increased forest fuels are likely to further the spread of uncharacteristic fire;
(c) Insufficient landowner action under a forest health hazard warning; or
(d) When otherwise determined by the commissioner to be appropriate.
(4) A forest health hazard warning or forest health hazard order shall be issued by use of a commissioner’s order. General notice of the commissioner’s order shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in each county within the area covered by the order and on the department’s web site. The order shall specify the boundaries of the area affected, including federal and tribal lands, the forest stand conditions that would make a parcel subject to the provisions of the order, and the actions landowners or land managers should take to reduce the hazard. If the forest health hazard warning or order relates to land managed by the department, the warning or order may also contain provisions for the department’s utilization of any forest biomass pursuant to chapter 79.150 RCW.
(5) Written notice of a forest health hazard warning or forest health hazard order shall be provided to forest landowners of specifically affected property.
(a) The notice shall set forth:
(i) The reasons for the action;
(ii) The boundaries of the area affected, including federal and tribal lands;
(iii) Suggested actions that should be taken by the forest landowner under a forest health hazard warning or the actions that must be taken by a forest landowner under a forest health hazard order;
(iv) The time within which such actions should or must be taken;
(v) How to obtain information or technical assistance on forest health conditions and treatment options;
(vi) The right to request mitigation under subsection (6) of this section and appeal under subsection (7) of this section;
(vii) These requirements are advisory only for federal and tribal lands.
(b) The notice shall be served by personal service or by mail to the latest recorded real property owner, as shown by the records of the county recording officer as defined in RCW 65.08.060. Service by mail is effective on the date of mailing. Proof of service shall be by affidavit or declaration under penalty of perjury.
(6) Forest landowners who have been issued a forest health hazard order under subsection (5) of this section may apply to the department for the remission or mitigation of such order. The application shall be made to the department within fifteen days after notice of the order has been served. Upon receipt of the application, the department may remit or mitigate the order upon whatever terms the department in its discretion deems proper, provided the department deems the remission or mitigation to be in the best interests of carrying out the purposes of this chapter. The department may ascertain the facts regarding all such applications in such reasonable manner and under such rule as it deems proper.
(7) Forest landowners who have been issued a forest health hazard order under subsection (5) of this section may appeal the order to the pollution control hearings board.
The appeal shall be filed within thirty days after notice of the order has been served, unless application for mitigation has been made to the department. When such an application for mitigation is made, such appeal shall be filed within thirty days after notice of the disposition of the application for mitigation has been served as provided in RCW 43.21B.230.
(8) A forest health hazard order issued under subsection (5) of this section is effective thirty days after date of service unless application for remission or mitigation is made or an appeal is filed. When an application for remission or mitigation is made, the order is effective thirty days after notice setting forth the disposition of the application is served unless an appeal is filed from such disposition. Whenever an appeal of the order is filed, the order shall become effective only upon completion of all administrative and judicial review proceedings and the issuance of a final decision confirming the order in whole or in part.
(9) Upon written request, the department may certify as adequate a forest health management plan developed by a forest landowner, before or in response to a forest health hazard warning or forest health hazard order, if the plan is likely to achieve the desired result and the terms of the plan are being diligently followed by the forest landowner. The certification of adequacy shall be determined by the department in its sole discretion, and be provided to the requestor in writing.

NOTES:

Reviser’s note: This section was amended by 2010 c 126 § 8 and by 2010 c 210 § 18, each without reference to the other. Both amendments are incorporated in the publication of this section under RCW 1.12.025(2). For rule of construction, see RCW 1.12.025(1).
IntentEffective datesApplicationPending cases and rules2010 c 210: See notes following RCW 43.21B.001.