Bay Area Council Urges Gov. Newsom to Sign Wildfire Bill

For centuries, California’s indigenous residents used small, controlled fires to manage vegetation growth in forests and wildland areas as a way to prevent larger more deadly and uncontrolled blazes. But in recent decades modern-day land managers have reduced the use of these so-called prescribed burns over liability and insurance risks. It’s eliminated an important tool for avoiding the kind of catastrophic wildfires that California is now increasingly experiencing. All that would change under legislation (SB 332, Dodd) the Bay Area Council is urging Gov. Newsom sign after it passed the legislature this week.

SB 332 will help encourage more prescribed burns by creating certification standards for “burn bosses” who oversee prescribed burns. The bill also helps immunize burn bosses from previous liability issues. For example, burn bosses will not be liable for any damages unless the prescribed burn was conducted in a grossly negligent manner. The bill is supported by a broad coalition including ranchers, conservationists, and tribal governments. The Council urges the Governor to sign this important bill into law to create a more resilient future for California. To learn more about the Bay Area Council’s climate resilience work, including supporting the California Resilience Challenge, please contact Senior Vice President of Public Policy Adrian Covert.

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