PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Washington lawmakers unveiled a signature campaign for Smokey Bear license plates on Monday to raise awareness and funds for wildfire safety in the state.
Proceeds from the license plates would go to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources to help reduce wildfires started by humans. Under the bill, Washingtonians could buy the plates in October 2024 for $40 and $30 for plate renewal.
The plate design needs at least 3,500 signatures before it can be considered by the Washington Department of Licensing.
“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,” Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz said. “Putting his image on vehicles across Washington will increase wildfire awareness by reminding everyone of his signature catchphrase: Only You Can Prevent Wildfires.”
An identical version of the plate design bill in the House of Representatives will be sponsored by Rep. Donaghy.
“As Smokey the Bear has taught us, only you can prevent wildfires. It is not only our duty to respond to immediate threats but to proactively address climate resilience, promote clean air, and safeguard Washington’s natural legacy,” said Sen. Nobles, the bill’s primary sponsor in the Washington state Senate. “The funds raised by the plates will aid our state’s efforts in the fight against climate change, paving the way for a better, healthier future for all our neighbors.”
“For nearly 80 years, Smokey has been a symbol reminding us to do our part to prevent forest fires. 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,” Rep. Donaghy said. “Smokey always reminds us that ‘only you can prevent forest fires.’ 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.”