Executive Order Signed to Protect California Communities from Wildfires

The order will double the land area actively managed through vegetation thinning, controlled fires, and reforestation from 250,000 acres to 500,000 acres.

California Gov. Jerry Brown has issued an executive order to protect communities from wildfire and from climate change impacts. Issued May 10, it aims to improve the health of the state's forests and help mitigate the threat and impacts of wildfires. "Devastating forest fires are a profound challenge to California," Brown said. "I intend to mobilize the resources of the state to protect our forests and ensure they absorb carbon to the maximum degree."

The order will double the land area actively managed through vegetation thinning, controlled fires, and reforestation from 250,000 acres to 500,000 acres. It also will:

  • Launch new training and certification programs to help promote forest health through prescribed burning
  • Increase education and outreach to landowners on the most effective ways to reduce vegetation and other forest fire fuel sources on private land
  • Streamline permitting for landowner-initiated projects that improve forest health and reduce forest fire fuels on their properties
  • Support the innovative use of forest products by the building industry
  • Expand grants, training, and other incentives to improve watersheds

The governor's May budget revision includes $96 million to support these actions; that amount is in addition to $160 million proposed in January's Cap and Trade expenditure plan to support forest improvements and fire protection.

Brown also is establishing a Forest Management Task Force in the coming weeks to help implement the order and its accompanying Forest Carbon Plan, which was finalized May 10 after more than a year of development and public outreach.

According to his office, eight of the state's 20 most destructive fires have occurred in the past four years.

CAL FIRE marked Wildfire Awareness Week during May 6-12.

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