SACRAMENTO – Frustrated with the Democratic leadership’s cancellation and indefinite postponement of the Wildfire Prevention and Forest Resiliency hearing originally scheduled for August 18th, the Assembly Republican Wildfire Working Group hosted its own informational forum to discuss the barriers, challenges, and solutions to preventing catastrophic wildfires.
“At a time when wildfires are raging across California, it is unconscionable that the wildfire oversight hearing was abruptly canceled,” said Seyarto. “Families are being evacuated and displaced, homes and habitats are being destroyed, and entire communities are burning to the ground. The people of California deserve transparency and accountability. They weren’t getting it from the current administration, so my colleagues and I took action.”
Fire and forestry experts traveled to the State Capitol to testify before lawmakers on best practices to prevent wildfires. They spoke on opportunities to improve firefighting operations, wildland fire mitigation, and recovery services, and measures to prevent wildfires and improve forest health.
Led by Assemblyman James Gallagher (R-Yuba City), whose district includes the 2017 deadly Camp Fire in Paradise, lawmakers demanded more funding be dedicated according to the experts’ advice.
As a result of the hearing, the caucus is asking for the following resources:
- $500 million to the California Climate Initiative to be split between Fire Prevention and Forest Health Grants
- An exemption for all projects funded by the $500 million from CEQA
- Extending the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund commitment in SB 901 through 2028-29 and making the $200 million a continuous appropriation
Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Red Bluff), Assembly Republican Leader Marie Waldron (R-Escondido), Assemblyman Frank Bigelow (R-O’Neals, CA), Assemblyman Steven Choi (R-Irvine), Assemblyman Megan Dahle (R-Madera), Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Kern County), Assemblyman Kelly Seyarto (R-Murrieta), Assemblyman Thurston “Smitty” Smith (R-Hesperia) and Assemblywoman Suzette Valladares (R-Santa Clarita) participated.
The meeting’s agenda can be viewed here: https://bit.ly/3jHnSZz
Assemblymember Seyarto’s remarks can be viewed here: https://bit.ly/3jycGOK
2020 was the worst year for wildfires in California’s recorded history. 4,257,863 acres burned, over 10,000 structures were destroyed, and 33 people lost their lives. 2021 is on trend to surpass these numbers.