Bill Text: CA AB9 | 2021-2022 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Wildfires.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2020-12-08 - From printer. May be heard in committee January 7. [AB9 Detail]

Download: California-2021-AB9-Introduced.html


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 9


Introduced by Assembly Member Wood

December 07, 2020


An act relating to wildfires.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 9, as introduced, Wood. Wildfires.
Existing law establishes various programs for the prevention and reduction of wildfires.
This bill would state the intent of the Legislature to enact subsequent legislation that would increase California’s capacity to prevent and reduce the impact of wildfires, and would make related findings and declarations.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all the following:
(a) Wildfires have grown larger and have increased in intensity over the last several decades. As compared with 1986, wildfires in the western United States have occurred nearly four times more often, burning more than six times the land area and lasting almost five times as long. 15 of the 20 most destructive wildfires in California have occurred in the last 10 years.
(b) The 2020 calendar year witnessed five of the six largest wildfires in California history.
(c) Wildfires, which have impacted occupied areas, have resulted in enormous human and financial costs, including the following:
(1) The 1991 Berkeley-Oakland Tunnel Fire, which resulted in 25 deaths, the loss of more than 3,000 homes, and a total financial loss of $1.5 billion.
(2) The 2003 San Diego Cedar Fire, which resulted in 15 deaths and the loss of 2,000 structures.
(3) The 2017 Tubbs Fire, which resulted in 22 deaths, the loss of 5,643 structures, and a total financial loss of approximately $1.3 billion.
(4) The 2017 Thomas Fire, which resulted in two deaths, the loss of more than 1,000 homes, and a total financial loss of approximately $2.2 billion.
(5) The 2018 Camp Fire, which resulted in 89 deaths, the loss of 18,804 structures, and a total financial loss of at least $16.6 billion.
(6) The 2018 Woolsey Fire, which resulted in three deaths, the loss of 1,643 structures, and a total financial loss of at least $6 billion dollars.
(7) The 2018 Carr Fire, which resulted in eight deaths, the loss of 1,604 structures and a total financial loss of at least $1.6 billion.
(8) The 2020 North Complex Fire, which resulted in the loss of 2,352 structures.
(9) The 2020 Glass Fire, which resulted in the loss of 1,520 structures.
(10) The 2020 LNU Lightning Complex Fire, which resulted in five deaths and the loss of 1,491 structures.
(d) Throughout history, mega fires were prevented by regular low intensity fires that were caused by natural events and Indigenous communities.
(e) Early logging practices abruptly eliminated the fire adapted landscapes that covered much of California.
(f) The advancement of fire suppression technology has prevented the recovering landscape from developing fire resistance and led to historic fuel load levels in many California environments.
(g) Climate change has resulted in higher year-long temperatures and increasing dry weather conditions in California, resulting in extended, sometimes multiyear, droughts; extended wildfire seasons throughout the year, with higher temperatures during dry season conditions; and impacts on vegetation wildfire fuel loads and increasing decay and loss of vegetation due to insect infestations and plant diseases.
(h) These factors, in combination with persistent development into wildlands, have led to more than 2,000,000 California households, approximately one in four residential structures in California, being located within or in wildfire movement proximity of “high” or “very high” fire hazard severity zones identified on maps drawn by the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Additionally, areas subject to seismic risks confront the likelihood that wildfires could result from downed power lines and ruptures of natural gas lines caused by earthquakes.
(i) Fire suppression efforts alone cannot prevent the loss of life and property.
(j) The Federal Emergency Management Agency estimates for every $1 spent on prevention and mitigation $4 are saved.

SEC. 2.

 It is the intent of the Legislature to enact subsequent legislation that would increase California’s capacity to prevent and reduce the impact of wildfires.
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