SACRAMENTO – With another potentially destructive wildfire season on the horizon, the California Senate has approved a pair of bills from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, that would enhance the state’s ability to prevent, prepare for and respond to future infernos.
“With these votes, we take a big step toward protecting Californians from devastating wildfires,” Sen. Dodd said. “We know prescribed burning is one of the most effective means of prevention, so it makes sense to expand that practice. At the same time, we must tap California’s innovative spirit to find new ways to control fire, which is why research and development is key. I thank my Senate colleagues for their support on these two proposals.”
The Senate voted overwhelmingly to pass two bills, which now head to the Assembly:
Senate Bill 109 – Creates the Office of Wildfire Technology Research and Development to study, produce and test new equipment to battle wildfires. Public, private and non-profit organizations and companies would join forces and become a state hub for firefighting advancements. In addition, it would make recommendations to state and local agencies, including Cal Fire and regional fire departments, on what the best and most effective new equipment and technology is available for them. It is supported by numerous groups including the California Fire Chiefs Association, the League of California Cities, Breathe California and the counties of Napa and Yolo.
Senate Bill 332 — Encourages more controlled burns by making insurance more accessible to professional burn bosses. Prescribed burning is one of the most cost-effective tools to manage wildfire. Its use has been limited in recent times by liability concerns despite rare instances of unintended damage, leaving dangerous fuel levels in California forests. The bill is supported by a broad coalition including ranchers, conservationists and tribal governments.
“The Legislature, Newsom administration, California Air Resources Board, the California Natural Resources Department and Cal Fire are in alignment: prescribed burns work,” said Rita Hite, executive vice president of the American Forest Foundation. “As we head into yet another wildfire season, California cannot afford to take the sideline with proactive wildfire prevention and forest management tactics.”
Senator Bill Dodd represents the 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Yolo, Sonoma, Solano, Sacramento and Contra Costa counties. More information on Senator Bill Dodd can be found at www.senate.ca.gov/dodd.