Sen. Dodd Issues Statement on First Anniversary of October 2017 Wildfires
NAPA – Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, issued the following statement about the first anniversary of the October 2017 Northern California wildfires, which burned more than 150,000 acres in Napa, Sonoma and Solano counties, destroyed an unprecedented number of homes and caused the tragic loss of life:
“It’s been a year of unparalleled challenges for our communities. In the midst of tragedy, we also witnessed countless acts of heroism and compassion. From the first hours of the fires to the ongoing recovery and prevention efforts, people have shown the sense of community that makes the North Bay so special. It is in this spirit of optimism that we rebuild, recover and thrive.
We have learned from this terrible tragedy and taken important steps toward preventing future disasters. One year later, there is still more work to be done to help our neighbors and to safeguard our communities, and I remain committed to addressing these needs.”
Following the fires, which broke out Oct. 8 during severe weather conditions, Sen. Dodd and legislative leaders introduced a series of related bills and secured budget money to assist those affected by the infernos and to prevent future disasters. Among those signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown are:
SB 833 – Jointly authored by Sens. Mike McGuire, Bill Dodd and Jerry Hill, it creates statewide standards for warning the public about wildfires, floods, earthquakes and other emergencies. It would require the state Office of Emergency Services to create emergency alert guidelines, in consultation with government groups, cellphone service providers and other stakeholders, by July 1.
SB 894 – Enacts important insurance reforms to enhance consumer protection, including allowing underinsured disaster victims to apply the replacement value of accessory structures to rebuild their dwelling and allow victims up to 3 years of living expenses during the rebuilding process.
SB 901 – Helps victims of the October wildfires recover losses from PG&E, while protecting ratepayers, and investing significantly in preventative measures including new mandates, oversight and audits related to wildfire prevention through utility maintenance and policies on de-energizing lines during extreme weather, as well as better forest management techniques. The bill also invests $1 billion over the next five years in forest management and $25 million this year to improve mutual aid response times.
SB 969 – Requires newly sold garage door motors to have battery backups. Seniors and people with disabilities can get stuck in their garages during power outages, like those we saw during the October 2017 wildfires, and this bill could help save lives.
SB 1040 – Ensures seniors and people with disabilities can access In-Home Support Services during natural disasters, and that hardworking care providers are able to receive their paychecks while they’re evacuated.
SB 1144 – Helps injured Cal Fire firefighters receive enhanced industrial disability leave benefits when they are injured on the job.
Wildfire Budget: Secured $29.1 million to cover the local share of wildfire debris removal in North Bay counties; $21.8 million to backfill local property tax revenue losses; $50 million for enhanced mutual aid response, which will better equip and prepare our firefighters for California’s wildfire season; $983 million for fire related purposes, including $392 million for fire prevention and $591 million for mitigation.
In recognition of the wildfire anniversary, Sen. Dodd is holding a fire prevention and remembrance ceremony Oct. 9 at the Calistoga Community Center from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. A panel including officials from Cal Fire, law enforcement and local government will be on hand to give updates and take questions.
Senator Bill Dodd represents California’s 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Sonoma, Solano, Yolo, Sacramento and Contra Costa counties. You can learn more about Senator Dodd at www.sen.ca.gov/dodd.