CA Wildfire Resilience Act Signed into Law

By Chronicle Staff
By Chronicle Staff

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CA Wildfire Resilience Act Signed into Law
Courtesy of the Topanga Community Center Congratulations to Topanga Community Center’s 2021 Volunteer of the Year, Kristina Levy and her husband (and pro potato peeler), Jed Levy. Their team at Rocco’s Cucina provided thousands of meals during the pandemic lockdown and Topanga is so grateful! Thank you!!
Topangans will now be required to harden their homes against wildfire. SB 63, the Wildfire Resilience through Community and Ecology Act, by Sen. Henry Stern (D-Los Angeles). was signed into law and took effect on January 1. The bill establishes a Fire Resiliency Corps at the state and neighborhood levels designed to link with President Biden’s Civilian Climate Corps proposal, among other things. “Building resilience within our high-fire-risk communities starts with education and training,” said Stern, the chair of the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee. “SB 63 will deploy a volunteer network of trained community members to educate their neighbors about the importance of simple home-hardening efforts and the creation of defensible space.” SB 63 also requires the state to identify moderate and high-severity fire zones which the Building Standards Commission will use to establish modified ignition-resistant building standards for the new zones. The bill also makes important clarifications in defensible space and vegetation management law to ensure all ecological systems are treated appropriately. “Decades of research and post-fire assessments have provided clear evidence that how homes are designed and the materials used to build them, coupled with how the properties are landscaped, are important factors influencing a home’s ability to survive a wildfire,” added Stern. “Fire-safe building standards are cost-effective and will save lives.” SB 63 was supported by California Building Industry Association, California Fire Safe Councils, California State Association of Counties, the National Fire Protection Association and the California Fire Chiefs Association. RESOURCES • Prevention and Preparation: Cal Fire provides this website for future wildfires including information on preparation and affordable home-hardening: (readyforwildfire.org) • Pre-Evacuation Checklist: The California Department of Insurance has provided a pre-evacuation checklist to help you avoid losing critical information in the event of an emergency: (insurance.ca.gov/01-consumers/140-catastrophes/EvacuationChecklist.cfm) • The North Topanga Canyon Fire Safe Council: The Topanga Canyon Fire Safe Council focuses on safer roadways; the removal of fire hazardous large-scale vegetation; wildfire education; community, neighborhood and mentoring programs; safer homes and neighborhoods and also free Home Ignition Zone Evaluation Programs. The Council has been awarded six grants and has brought more than $365,000 into Topanga and the Santa Monica Mountains: (https://cafiresafecouncil.org/fsc-location/north-topanga-canyon-fsc/) or email: firesafe@ntcfsc.org. • Red Cross Preparation: The Red Cross has recommendations on its website about how to prepare for emergencies such as fire or power outages. (redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies.html) • FEMA Wildfire Preparedness: The Federal Emergency Management Agency also has recommendations for how to stay safe and prepare for wildlife threats. (ready.gov/wildfires) • Sustainable Defensible Space: The Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains (RCDSMM), along with other state and local partners, maintains a website to help communities in the southern California Wild Urban Interface (WUI) increase wildfire resilience by providing localized resources on home hardening, defensible space landscaping and fire risk assessments. (defensiblespace.org/) • Medical Baseline: If you are a medically vulnerable utility customer, you may be eligible for a Medical Baseline Allowance with SoCal Edison which can provide aid and financial relief during Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) and any other de-energization event. Direct questions to wildfireoutreach@sce.com.

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