A photo from CalFire, posted Aug. 31, 2020 by Henry W. Coe State Park, shows a dramatic view of control burns set on the west side of a dozer line.

Gov. Gavin Newsom this week signed a bill that will require the state to establish a long-term fire prevention action plan “to ensure statewide investments to combat fires are comprehensive, science-based and utilize complementary partnerships,” says a press release from Sen. John Laird. 

The bill is known as Senate Bill 456, and will take effect Jan. 1, 2022. Laird (D-Santa Cruz), who represents south Santa Clara County in the state senate, authored the wildfire prevention bill.  

“I’d like to thank Gov. Newsom for signing SB 456 that will provide a clear pathway toward preventing the large-scale devastation to California communities and wildlife that is becoming an annual occurrence in our great state,” Laird said. “We have the capacity and technology to plan ahead and we must. Our lives and natural resources depend on it.”

According to a recent report, California’s Wildlife and Forest Resilience Action Plan, “California is facing a growing forest and wildfire crisis. Decades of fire suppression, coupled with the increasing impacts of climate change, have dramatically increased wildfires’ size and intensity throughout the state.” Wildfires in California are continuing to increase in frequency and intensity, resulting in loss of life and damage to public health, property, infrastructure, and ecosystems. In 2020, wildfires burned more than 4.1 million acres. 

The bill also requires a task force, on or before Jan. 1, 2023, and annually thereafter, until Jan. 1, 2048, to submit a report to the state legislature containing specified information, including progress made in achieving the goals and key actions identified in the action plan.

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Michael Moore is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor for the Morgan Hill Times, Hollister Free Lance and Gilroy Dispatch since 2008. During that time, he has covered crime, breaking news, local government, education, entertainment and more.


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