Hearing led by Senators McGuire and Stern will examine the future of development in California’s most fire prone regions

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Sacramento, CA – California has faced an unprecedented series of mega-wildland fires over the past decade – some of the most destructive and deadly in American history.

This week, a joint hearing of the Senate Governance & Finance Committee and the Senate Natural Resources & Water Committee will review residential development in some of the Golden State’s most fire prone regions and how state and local governments can keep residents safe in communities that are within the Wildland Urban Interface.

“The complete devastation of communities across our state from the worst wildland fires in California’s history is forcing us to take a closer look at policies for development and land use planning in high fire prone areas,” Senator McGuire said. “We’re grateful to be partnering with Senator Stern to bring some of the top experts in the Western United States together to have the difficult conversations about development in the era of mega wildland fires.”

“In this new and destructive abnormal brought by the climate emergency, we have a responsibility to rebuild more resiliently and not repeat the same mistakes over again,” said Senator Stern. “The good news is that we have tools to protect people from deadly wildfires with smarter building standards, safer and cleaner grid technologies like under-grounding, microgrids and clean backup power for water pumps, fire stations and other critical infrastructure, and smarter land use policies where we can limit new growth into the wildland urban interface. I’m grateful to Senator McGuire for his collaboration in this hearing, as his constituents have gone through hell just like we have.”

The hearing, led by Senators Henry Stern and Mike McGuire, Chair of the Senate Natural Resources & Water Committee and the Senate Governance & Finance Committee, respectively, titled “Living Resiliently in the New Abnormal: The Future of Development in California’s Most Fire Prone Regions” will be held TOMORROW Wednesday at 9:30 am at the State Capitol in Room 4203. 

The hearing will examine how local communities can rebuild in the aftermath of fires and how best to improve local planning and development approvals to mitigate wildland fire and fire losses. The hearing will also seek an informed perspective on the question of whether local and state governments should do more to regulate future development in fire prone areas or to make developments more fire resilient.  

Testifying at the hearing are:

  • Mark Ghilarducci, Director, California Office of Emergency Services
  • Bob Fenton, Regional Administrator, FEMA Region 9
  • Dr. Max Moritz, Statewide Wildfire Specialist, University of California Cooperative Extension
  • Jeff Lambert, Director of Planning, City of Oxnard, Past President, American Planning Association, California Chapter
  • Chief Kate Dargan, California State Fire Marshal (Ret.), CALFIRE
  • Chief Ken Pimlott, Director (Ret.), CALFIRE
  • Scott Lotter, Former Mayor, City of Paradise
  • Tim Snellings, Planning Director, Butte County
  • Chief Michael McLaughlin, Cosumnes Community Services District Fire Department
  • Ty Bailey, California Professional Firefighters, President, Sacramento Area Firefighters, Local 522, Fire Captain, Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District

The hearing will be livestreamed at www.senate.ca.gov. More information on the hearing can be found at https://sgf.senate.cao.gov.