Late Tuesday evening, the Wildfire Preparedness & Response Legislative Conference Committee (Committee) finalized a bipartisan forest health package that includes a significant amount of funding and real solutions to prevent and minimize future catastrophic wildfires. The Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) specifically applauds Assemblymembers Brian Dahle (R-Bieber) and Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg) for their determined efforts to persuade their colleagues of the need to address this issue immediately, and in a meaningful way.
“The Committee’s proposal will have real, on the ground impacts to prevent future catastrophic wildfire events similar to those that have devastated our rural communities over the past decade,” said Rex Bohn, RCRC Chair and Humboldt County Supervisor. “We’re grateful for the Committee’s work, and are encouraged that the Legislature and Governor Brown are poised to enact this much-needed package that will save lives, resources, and property.”
Senate Bill 901 will provide robust, long-term funding for forest health programs, streamline regulatory requirements for forest management and fuels treatment projects, expand existing exemptions to allow for more effective management of flammable materials on timberlands, and extend contracts for biomass facilities to help remove dead and dying trees and other materials from forests. More importantly, the bill contains $1 billion over the next five years to fund much of the vegetation management work that is outlined in the legislation. The Legislature is slated to enact SB 901 and a number of other forest and fire-related measures before its adjournment on August 31st.
RCRC’s SB 901 support letter can be accessed here.