The inept government, political and regulatory policies of California have clearly driven the present forest management calamitous conditions with that failure leading to disastrous wildfires throughout the state.
Those government and political leaders that are responsible for this situation that has been decades in the making have tried to conceal their incompetence by making scientifically unsupported propaganda claims that “climate change” caused this situation. These government driven problems are clearly identified in two recent reports – one by Cal Fire and the other by the California Legislative Analysts Office.
The state has established a huge gauntlet of regulatory agencies whose policies, procedures and actions have interfered with, misdirected, wasted and delayed the use of appropriate resources that have led to the present forest management and wildfire catastrophe.
Cal Fire has identified a series of high priority wildfire policy actions that need to be addressed and that reflect decades long policy inaction by the state which have led to the buildup of increasing wildfire risks that are responsible for the severity of recent California wildfires.
These actions are summarized in the report noted above and include the following assessments:
“Recognizing the need for urgent action, Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-05-19 on January 9, 2019. The Executive Order directs the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), in consultation with other state agencies and departments, to recommend immediate, medium and long-term actions to help prevent destructive wildfires. The Privatization of R... Best Price: $9.99 Buy New $15.00 (as of 03:55 EDT - Details)
With an emphasis on taking necessary actions to protect vulnerable populations, and recognizing a backlog in fuels management work combined with finite resources, the Governor placed an emphasis on pursuing a strategic approach where necessary actions are focused on California’s most vulnerable communities as a prescriptive and deliberative endeavor to realize the greatest returns on reducing risk to life and property.
Using locally developed and vetted fire plans prepared by CAL FIRE Units as a starting point, CAL FIRE identified priority fuel reduction projects that can be implemented almost immediately to protect communities vulnerable to wildfire. It then considered socioeconomic characteristics of the communities that would be protected, including data on poverty levels, residents with disabilities, language barriers, residents over 65 or under five years of age, and households without a car.
In total, CAL FIRE identified 35 priority projects that can be implemented immediately to help reduce public safety risk for over 200 communities. Project examples include removal of hazardous dead trees, vegetation clearing creation of fuel breaks and community defensible spaces, and creation of ingress and egress corridors. These projects can be implemented immediately if recommendations in this report are taken to enable the work. Details on the projects and CAL FIRE’s analysis can be found online which will remain updated in the coming months. The list of projects is attached to this report as Appendix C.
CAL FIRE has also worked with over 40 entities including government and nongovernment stakeholders to identify administrative, regulatory and policy actions that can be taken in the next 12 months to begin systematically addressing community vulnerability and wildfire fuel buildup through rapid deployment of resources. Implementing several of these recommended actions is necessary to execute the priority fuel reduction projects referenced above. Other recommendations are intended to put the state on a path toward long-term community protection, wildfire prevention, and forest health.
The recommendations in this report, while significant, are only part of the solution. Additional efforts around protecting lives and property through home hardening and other measures must be vigorously pursued by government and stakeholders at all levels concurrently with the pursuit of the recommendations in this report. California must adopt an “all of the above” approach to protecting public safety and maintaining the health of our forest ecosystems. Amazon.com Gift Card i... Buy New $25.00 (as of 02:55 EDT - Details)
It is important to note that California faces a massive backlog of forest management work. Millions of acres are in need of treatment, and this work— once completed—must be repeated over the years. Also, while fuels treatment such as forest thinning and creation of fire breaks can help reduce fire severity, wind-driven wildfire events that destroy lives and property will very likely still occur.
This report’s recommendations on priority fuel reduction projects and administrative, regulatory, and policy changes can protect our most vulnerable communities in the short term and place California on a trajectory away from increasingly destructive fires and toward more a moderate and manageable fire regime.”
Governor Newsom had to invoke the declaration of a State of Emergency in late March of this year to waive California’s onerous and overbearing environmental laws and regulations to allow for these actions to commence in a timely manner. These most recent actions however represent only very small part of magnitude of the forest management and wildfire problems that must be dealt with by California that will take many years to address.
Another state report completed in 2018 that received little attention by the media documents in much more detail the huge extent of the problems confronting California’s forest management responsibilities.