Legislature Passes Trio of Sen. Dodd’s Wildfire Safety Bills

Thursday, September 12, 2019

SACRAMENTO – The Legislature late Wednesday approved a trio of wildfire-safety bills from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, that seek to prevent and prepare for the kinds of climate change-driven infernos that have burned across California.

“I thank my fellow lawmakers for making it a priority to address this growing threat to my home district and the entire state,” Sen. Dodd said. “We must be proactive to get a handle on these destructive blazes before they claim more lives and property. These are important steps that will go a long way toward protecting the public.”

The following bills passed both legislative chambers with unanimous, bipartisan support and now head to Gov. Gavin Newsom for a signature:

Senate Bill 190 would assist in wildfire prevention by increasing awareness of and compliance with requirements for vegetation buffer zones. Homes that maintain 100 feet of defensible space are eight times more likely to survive a wildfire than homes without a properly maintained buffer.  

SB 209 would establish the Wildfire Forecast and Threat Intelligence Integration Center to serve as the state’s central hub for wildfire forecasting, weather information, and threat intelligence, and analysis. The multiagency center would allow the state to better direct wildfire prevention and response activities, helping stop fires from igniting or spreading out of control.

SB 247 requires the Wildfire Safety Division to oversee physical audits of the clearing of vegetation from utility lines – the cause of numerous deadly fires. Currently, utilities and their contractors have been certifying their own work, and Senator Dodd’s bill would ensure that going forward an independent third party solely focused on public safety is reviewing compliance.

“The height of fire season is approaching, which underscores the need for immediate action,” Sen. Dodd said. “We can’t sit back and watch our state burn.”

“As a fire chief in an area recently affected by devastating wildfires, I am most appreciative of Sen. Dodd and his legislative colleagues for their efforts to pass these important wildfire bills,” said Steve Akre, chief of the Sonoma Valley Fire and Rescue Authority. “Many years of fire season experience have shown us that measures to improve vegetation buffer zones, clear utility lines and provide early and accurate weather forecasting and threat assessment will make a true difference in our efforts to prevent, prepare for and respond to wildfires.” 

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Senator Bill Dodd represents California’s 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Solano, Napa, Sonoma, Yolo, Sacramento, and Contra Costa counties. You can learn more about Senator Dodd at www.sen.ca.gov/dodd.

 

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