Governor Signs Sen. Dodd’s Prescribed Fire Fund Bill
SACRAMENTO – Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa announced today that Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed his legislation to enhance wildfire prevention through implementation of a $20 million prescribed fire claims fund.
“With the increasing destruction and loss of life caused by climate-driven wildfires, we must ramp up prevention – and prescribed fire is a proven way to do that,” Sen. Dodd said. “That’s why I’m so glad Gov. Newsom has signed this bill, which is a cost-effective way to minimize the intensity and scope of wildfires. It is a follow-up on my bill from last year to encourage greater use of prescribed fires. Now we will have a fund to cover some costs for prescribed fire professionals. The new law is a step toward achieving California’s goal of treating a half-million acres annually to manage our forests.”
Prescribed fire, also known as controlled burning, has been used for centuries to clear tinder-dry trees and brush that are known to fuel runaway wildfires. Rarely do prescribed fires escape their bounds and cause damage to neighboring properties. Yet affordable insurance is difficult to secure, preventing property owners from treating their land. Sen. Dodd’s bill, Senate Bill 926, creates standards for a fund to help cover costs. It follows Senate Bill 332, also written by Sen. Dodd and signed into law last year, which protects landowners and prescribed fire managers from having to pay fire suppression expenses unless they have acted with gross negligence.
SB 926 is sponsored by The Nature Conservancy. It passed the Legislature with overwhelming support before it was signed Tuesday by the governor.
“If we are going to restore our forests at pace and scale, we need to reduce barriers to prescribed burning – our most effective long-term landscape fire management tool,” said Jay Ziegler, Jay Ziegler, director of policy and external affairs at The Nature Conservancy. “Science shows prescribed fire is critical to curbing catastrophic megafires in California, and SB 926 will help us do more of it. We appreciate Sen. Dodd’s steadfast leadership on establishing a prescribed fire claims fund.”
Senator Bill Dodd represents the 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Solano, Yolo, Sonoma, Contra Costa, and Sacramento counties. You can learn more about the district and Senator Dodd at www.sen.ca.gov/dodd.