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Help “Fix” the Wildland-Urban Interface Code

WIP readers will be overjoyed to hear that NOT ONE BUT TWO SOLUTIONS have been proposed to correct problems caused by including defensible space requirements in the 2021 Wildland-Urban Interface Code. But both remain in doubt.

You can help by registering your support for ESB 6120.

Best solution – Pass Senate Bill 6120

In January 2024 Senator Van De Wege filed SB 6120 for this Washington State legislative session. This bill reinforces the language of his original bill passed in 2018.  It requires property owners to use ignition-resistant materials and methods for new and existing residences within the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI). It specifically excludes the “defensible space” parts of the International Building Code.

The bill also directs WA Department of Natural Resources to create two separate maps—a statewide map of wildfire hazard and wildfire risk maps at the county level. Local jurisdictions can create their own WUI maps using WA DNR methods. Only homes in the two highest categories of wildfire hazard will be required to follow the WUI codes. For existing homes, local jurisdictions can choose to remove WUI code requirements for exterior construction projects.

This bill addresses most of the problems caused by the 2021 WUI Code Amendments, and Black Hills Audubon Society wholeheartedly supports it.

However, as of February 24 it is not clear whether ESB 6120 will pass during this legislative session. The bill has cleared the Senate and is now in the House, but five more steps must be completed before March 9 if the bill is to pass this session.

How you can help:  Comment favorably on ESB 6120 by going to

In the upper right corner by the bill description, click on “Send a comment on this bill to your legislators” and complete the information.  Just a short comment that says ESB 6120 is a strong bill that corrects previous problems will be fine.

Another solution – Proposed amendments to the WUI Code

The State Building Code Council (SBCC) in its November 18, 2023 meeting proposed language to amend the 2021 WUI Code Amendments. This language reduces tree removal requirements for homes within the WUI areas to ten feet from homes, outbuildings, and overhead wires.  This version is not perfect and does not address the problems of the WUI map created by WA Department of Resources.  Nevertheless, Black Hills Audubon Society, Restoring Earth Connections and other environmental groups supported the new language in the February 9 public hearing.

If ESB 6120 does not pass the legislature this session, BHAS hopes that SBCC will pass the proposed language to amend the 2021 WUI Code Amendments. The SBCC will probably vote on the new language at their next meeting on March 15, the date that the code is to go into effect.

 For background on WUI Codes in Washington State. – go to the November 2023 issue of WIP at




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