The California Wildfire & Forest Resilience Task Force Quarterly Meeting (3/30/23)
The expected state budget cannot continue to ramp up resources for wildfire prevention and forest resilience, so the Governor’s Wildfire Task Force and the Legislature are focusing on making the best use of the funds in the pipeline. The task force meets every four-six weeks and has working groups that include experts from federal, state, higher education, and private sectors. They gather and present existing and new data sets, are working across the board to share information and map it so that efforts will be strategic and collaborative. They’re also reporting impact in clear language because they realize that they will need to demonstrate impact to continue to receive legislative and public support.
- See VIDEOS of the most recent meeting.
Senate Governmental Organization Committee Hearing (3/28/23)
Senator Dodd from Napa, who has several bills this session, chairs the committee and held a hearing March 28th. The background briefing has lots of information about alert systems, other technologies.
- PDF – “Building Resilience: Evaluating California’s Recent Wildfire Emergency Preparedness and Response Efforts”
- VIDEO – a recording of the hearing is available. I watched the whole 2 hours,19 minutes! The first third was committee business, then there were panels. The first few speakers pretty much read what was in the printed document, then the last half had more back and forth with the committee members.
SB-571 (in progress)
Senator Allen’s bill looks promising. SB-571 was amended March 21st and provides more specificity about evacuation plans and transportation studies. It requires a new residential or commercial development in fire zones that would have 40 or more vehicles evacuating in a wildfire (assuming 2/home) to have an evaluation plan, including a traffic engineering study, approved by police, fire, local government, CHP if state or federal routes are involved, And the county would have to incorporated in county-wide database. Will be a state-mandated local program and will have to go through the fiscal committee. Since there’s no legislative analysis posted yet, (there was a Spring Recess 3/30-4/15,) contacted Senator Allen’s office to find out who’s in favor, who’s opposed (no legislative analysis posted yet), see how we can help. I raised concern about the requirement that the evacuation time frame is one hour, that’s a compromise that they made reluctantly. There’s no mention of density/radiant heat, but it’s a good start with traffic studies and approvals. Allen’s from Southern California, representing Westside, coastal South Bay, and Santa Monica Mountains communities of Los Angeles County. The bill was set for a hearing on April 26th, but it was held over to the next legislative session due to overwhelming opposition.
~ Elizabeth Stage, OFSC Vice President