Washington: new public lands commissioner/firefighter/molecular biologist

Peter Goldmark, who has been a wildland firefighter with the Okanogan County Fire District No. 8 in Washington for over 30 years, won the election to unseat two-term incumbent Doug Sutherland for the position of state Commissioner of Public Lands, which oversees the Department of Natural Resources and their firefighting organization. As Wildfire Today told you earlier, Goldmark has a Ph.D. in molecular biology and conducts wheat breeding research.

The Seattle Times has an article about some of the issues facing the new Commissioner. Here is an excerpt.

OLYMPIA — Washington’s new public-lands commissioner says he wants the state to respond more quickly to wildfires.

As a longtime volunteer firefighter, Peter Goldmark says he understands how red tape and unclear protocols can slow fire response.

“It’s obvious that we need to put out the fire first and squabble about who is paying for it later,” Goldmark says. During his campaign, he hammered the state’s slow response in a Spokane-area wildfire last summer that destroyed 12 homes and caused $50 million in property damage.

In an Associated Press interview earlier this week outlining his plans, Democrat Goldmark said he’ll do things differently than his Republican predecessor, Doug Sutherland, when he takes over in January as head of the Department of Natural Resources.

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