SACRAMENTO, Calif., May 14, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- With dry summer months and another critical fire season fast approaching, a new coalition (Action for Wildfire Resiliency) has formed to provide a unified voice to advocate for new policies to help California better prevent, prepare for and respond to the increased frequency and severity of the threat of wildfires.
"With climate change, rising temperatures, higher sustained winds and prolonged droughts, California has faced an unprecedented number of devastating fires over the past several years," said Ray Chaney, former fire chief and Crisis Communications Director for 2-1-1 San Diego. "We can't completely eliminate the risk of these catastrophic events, but improved mitigation and increased investments in emergency response are essential components of reducing property damage and loss of life."
The frequency and intensity of wildfires have grown dramatically in recent years. Ten of California's most destructive wildfires have occurred in the past four years, with 2018 being the deadliest and most catastrophic wildfire year on record.
"It's time we address the 'new normal' of devastating wildfires with a comprehensive set of solutions," said coalition spokesperson Robin Swanson. "Action for Wildfire Resiliency will be advocating for legislation that supports enhanced prevention, clear accountability, increased investment in emergency response and a skilled workforce, and sufficient and accountable resources to help victims and communities rebuild."
"When these fires happen in communities across California, families and local businesses are among the hardest hit," said Alice Huffman, President of the California State Conference NAACP. "It often takes many years to rebuild neighborhoods and some businesses never recover. If this is our new normal, clearly more can and should be done to enhance prevention efforts and ensure sufficient resources to help communities, residents, and small businesses rebuild."
"Throughout the state, significant work is underway by thousands of IBEW members who are working around the clock to harden our electrical infrastructure to not only make the system more fire resistant but also ensure our members can continue to safely deliver increasing amounts of clean power," said Tom Dalzell, Business Manager, IBEW Local 1245. "Adequate investment in the highly trained and qualified men and women who are on the front lines of wildfire prevention is absolutely critical."
"We can't expect one industry to bear sole responsibility for these catastrophic events," said Rex Hime, President & CEO, California Business Properties Association. "We need to hold utilities accountable for implementing their wildfire mitigation plans, and we need clear rules for how to apportion costs when these catastrophic events do occur, so we have sufficient resources to rebuild."
Action for Wildfire Resiliency supports:
- Enhanced prevention with clear accountability
- Increased investment in emergency response
- Adequate investment in skilled workers, and
- A fiscally responsible approach to recovery—establishment of a Wildfire Recovery Fund
Without resilient energy infrastructure, supported by stable public- and investor-owned electric utilities, we jeopardize the state's ability to meet our clean energy goals.
To learn more about Action for Wildfire Resiliency and our policy principles, visit: https://wildfireaction.com
SOURCE Action for Wildfire Resiliency