Nov. 20—TACOMA — Washingtonians will be able to show their appreciation for forests — and the people who protect them — if a new custom license plate is approved, according to an announcement from state Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz.
The plate, depicting the wildfire prevention icon Smokey Bear, is the subject of bills introduced in the state legislature by Sen. T’wina Nobles, D-Fircrest, and Rep. Brandy Donaghy, D-Everett, according to the announcement.
“A Smokey Bear license plate would let people show their support for the firefighters who put their lives on the line every season to keep us, our property and our lands safe from fire,” Franz wrote in the announcement. “Putting his image on vehicles across Washington will increase wildfire awareness by reminding everyone of his signature catchphrase: ‘Only you can prevent wildfires.'”
All revenue raised from the proposed license plates would go to wildfire prevention, according to the announcement. The Department of Natural Resources will need at least 3,500 signatures for the Smokey Bear license plate to be considered by the Department of Licensing; the petition can be signed at http://www.dnr.wa.gov/smokeybear.
Under this bill, the public could start purchasing license plates in October 2024 for any vehicle required to have a license plate, according to the announcement. Plates will cost $40 for the initial plate and $30 to renew a plate. This will be DNR’s first license plate and the state’s only license plate for wildfire prevention.
“For nearly 80 years, Smokey has been a symbol reminding us to do our part to prevent forest fires,” Donaghy wrote in the announcement. “Each year, Washington faces more intense and prolonged fire seasons. Many of these are caused by human actions. That is why Smokey’s message has never been more important … We can save lives, communities, and wild lands by taking responsibility for preventing these destructive and disastrous fires. I am proud to stand with Smokey as we further our efforts to combat forest fires.”
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