Chelan County District 2 Commissioner Shon Smith is drawing attention to the price of homeowners insurance for residents who live near Lake Wenatchee, Plain and the Chumstick Highway. 

He says rates have skyrocketed in recent years because of fire risk, despite efforts to mitigate the danger on the part of local agencies and the National Forest Service. 

Smith says insurance companies determine insurance rates based on satellite photos without getting a firsthand look at what's being done. 

"It's really an unrealistic picture of what we're doing as residents, plus what we're doing as a county and what we're doing from a forest service standpoint," said Smith. 

Smith is hoping an upcoming story by a Seattle TV station will shine a spotlight on the soaring cost of homeowners and fire insurance in parts of the county.  

He said he's been approached by KING5 about the story and offered his experience of having his insurance triple this year before finding another provider. 

Smith said insurance companies are just not considering what's being done on the ground. 

"There's no way to get the adjusters out there where the people that are writing these policies look and see the advance work being done on the ground," Smith said. 

One project aims to reduce wildfire fuels by thinning out 75,000 acres of forest land in the Lake Chelan and Plain areas, including 62,000 acres of National Forest Service land. 

Smith says the project will include a variety of work and is scheduled to take seven years to fully complete. 

"The work will include commercial and non-commercial tree thinning and prescribed fire, along with some road construction and road decommissioning and the re-guiding of traffic up that way. The implementation of this will occur in phases through 2030, so it's a very long project." 

The Leavenworth and Lake Wenatchee areas are the most at risk for wildfire in Washington state according to seberal state agencies.

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