New Fire Prevention Legislation Could Soon be Law

By on September 1, 2020

New fire prevention legislation is working its way through the state Senate after being approved by the Assembly earlier this year. With the fire season only getting worse in California could this be too little, too late?

AB 3074 (Friedman) enhances existing defensible space protections for homes in very high fire hazard areas. A companion bill also authored by Assemblymember Friedman, AB 3164, would require CAL FIRE to develop a wildland-urban interface wildfire risk model to determine the risk for a community or parcel within certain areas of the state.

Existing law requires a person who owns, leases, operates, or maintains an occupied dwelling or structure in, upon, or adjoining a mountainous area, forest-covered land, brush-covered land, grass-covered land, or land that is covered with flammable material that is within a very high fire hazard severity zone, as designated by a local agency, or a building or structure in, upon, or adjoining those areas or lands within a state responsibility area, to maintain a defensible space of 100 feet from each side and from the front and rear of the structure. AB 3074 would now require the use of more intense fuel reductions between 5 and 30 feet around the structure, and to create an ember-resistant zone within 5 feet of the structure.

AB 3164 would require the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to develop a wildland-urban interface wildfire risk model to determine the risk for a community or parcel within a local responsibility area or state responsibility area by July 1, 2022. The bill would require the department to establish, and consult with, an advisory workgroup to develop the model. The bill would also require the department to update the model and guidelines when fire hazard severity zones are revised.

Both bills are expected to pass before the end of the legislative season.