OLYMPIA — Legislation to create an official Smokey Bear license plate was heard in the Senate Transportation Committee Thursday. 

Senate Bill 5910, sponsored by Sen. T’wina Nobles (D-Fircrest), would allocate all funds raised by the special license plate to support the state Department of Natural Resources’ human-caused wildfire prevention efforts. If passed, Washington would be one of three states with a Smokey Bear license plate, joining Oregon and Texas. 

In Washington, more than 2.2 million homes are exposed to heightened wildfire risk, and over the past five years, wildfire suppression costs statewide averaged $153 million. 

“Since 1944, Smokey Bear has reminded with his signature catchphrase that, ‘Only you can prevent wildfires,’” Nobles said. “Putting his image on vehicles across Washington would increase awareness by reminding us of our shared responsibility to safeguard our state’s natural legacy. As 90% of wildfires are human caused every year, his message has never been more important.” 

Follow the bill’s progress here.