Washington Energy Emergency Management Director appointed to federal commission addressing wildfire crisis

Eli KingOlympia, July 19, 2022 – Eli King, energy emergency management director for the Washington State Department of Commerce, was appointed to the national Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission earlier this month.

The U.S. departments of Agriculture, Homeland Security and the Interior, along with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), announced the 11 federal and 36 non-federal commission members on July 7. More than 500 applications were submitted for the positions.

The newly created Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission will play a key role in recommending how federal agencies can better prevent, manage and suppress wildland fires. It was established as part of President Joe Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in December 2021.

The commission brings together members from federal agencies, Tribes, state and local municipalities, and private entities from across the nation.

King is joined by two other members from Washington: Tim Cook, hazard mitigation officer at the Washington State Emergency Management Division, and Cody Desautel, Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation’s natural resources director.

“We know commission members from Washington will contribute valuable energy resilience and fire management recommendations to the final report,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “Eli King consistently partners with communities, agencies and private organizations throughout the Pacific Northwest to plan for and manage energy emergencies, including wildfires. Her expertise will be a valuable asset to the commission.”

Commerce’s Energy Emergency Management Office coordinates Washington’s response to energy emergencies, supporting infrastructure and strengthening communities in their recovery. King has been in this role with Commerce since fall 2018.

“Eli’s leadership since she joined Commerce has been invaluable,” said Michael Furze, Energy Division assistant director. “She has transformed the role of the office, as the team focuses on alleviating energy disruptions from widespread risks, including impacts to the electricity grid and fuel and natural gas shortages.”

Wildfires cause significant damage and are an origin of environmental disparities, as detailed in Washington’s 2021 State Energy Strategy.

“Every year, fire seasons last longer, cause more damage to infrastructure and homes, and strain the already limited firefighting resources throughout the West,” King said. “We must invest in energy resilience planning and collaborating across regions to manage and mitigate these impacts.”

The commission will recommend equipment needs for aerial firefighting and provide input restoring land affected by wildfire. The commission will also prepare a report with policy recommendations for Congress. The commission will hold its first virtual meeting later in July.

View the full member list for the Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission.

Liz Rocca, Commerce Communications, 360-972-0338

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