Washington state race for lands chief focused on wildfires

By Associated Press

EVERETT — Combating wildfires and maintaining forest health has become a key issue in the race for commissioner of public lands in Washington state.

This year’s race pits incumbent Hilary Franz, a Democrat, against former fisheries biologist Sue Kuehl Pederson, a Republican. The winner on Nov. 3 will serve a four-year term.

Kuehl Pederson has said Franz has not acted quickly enough to prevent wildfires. She has also questioned Franz’s emphasis on climate change as a factor in causing this year’s longer wildfire season.

Franz was elected commissioner in 2016. She said she has spent her term working to reverse a forest health crisis.