SACRAMENTO – The Legislature approved a bill from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, that would enhance California’s ability to prevent and respond to the continuing wildfire threat by encouraging the development of cutting-edge firefighting and prevention technology.
“The escalating frequency and devastation caused by wildfires demands that we seek our emerging technology to address this urgent threat,” said Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa. “This bill will help develop advancements and tap innovation from the public and private sectors. It will allow us to work smarter to protect life and property.”
Senate Bill 109 would create 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, the office 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.
It passed the Senate today on a unanimous, bipartisan vote after previously being approved in the Assembly. SB 109 heads next to Gov. Gavin Newsom for a signature.
“We must invest in new technologies to combat the unprecedented wildfires we are experiencing on an annual basis,” said Alfredo Pedroza, chair of the Napa County Board of Supervisors. “Thanks to the leadership of Sen. Dodd, SB 109 would establish a statewide office dedicated to bringing emerging technology and innovation to help our first responders fight wildfires.”
“As California continues to battle an increasing number of wildland fires, we know that we must utilize new and immerging innovation and technologies to suppress this ever-increasing threat,” said Eric Zane, chief of the Woodland Fire Department. “Passage of SB 109 will significantly enhance our ability to leverage public and private research and development, to prevent and respond to wildland fires across our state.”
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.