Long-Term Wildfire Mitigation Planning Bill by Laird Signed by the Governor
Contact: Richard Stapler, Richard.Stapler@sen.ca.gov
SACRAMENTO, CA – Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 456, authored by Senator John Laird (D – Santa Cruz). This bill 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.
“I’d like to thank Governor Newsom for signing SB 456 that will provide a clear pathway toward preventing the largescale devastation to California communities and wildlife that is becoming an annual occurrence in our great state,” notes Laird. “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.
“As a legislative body, we work diligently each year to secure investments in the state budget for wildfire prevention and mitigation. We must correspondingly ensure the state is prepared to direct future investments and is held accountable in protecting our communities,” said Laird.
The bill also requires a task force, on or before January 1, 2023, and annually thereafter, until January 1, 2048, to submit a report containing specified information, including progress made in achieving the goals and key actions identified in the action plan, to the Legislature
Senate Bill 456 will take effect on January 1, 2022.
Senator John Laird represents the 17th State Senate District, which includes all of Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Luis Obispo counties, as well as parts of Santa Clara County. He previously served as the Secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency, member of the State Integrated Waste Management Board, a member of the State Assembly, Executive Director of the Santa Cruz Aids Project, and two terms as Santa Cruz Mayor. His lifetime of public service and social justice advocacy saw him become one of the first openly gay mayors to serve in the United States. Senator Laird has been a long-time resident of Santa Cruz with his spouse John Flores.