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Bill to require fire protection passes

September 28, 2008|Diane Wedner

The California Legislature recently passed a bill requiring that counties certify that adequate fire protection is in place before approving new subdivisions in high fire-hazard areas.

The number of homes destroyed by wildfires has increased over the years, as developments have gone up in ever-closer proximity to wild lands. Cal Fire (formerly the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection) spent $330 million defending homes during the last fiscal year, including those not under its jurisdiction, even though its budget was only $69 million. The gap was paid for out of the state's general fund.

AB 2447, authored by Assemblyman Dave Jones (D-Sacramento), requires that counties certify that the designs and locations of new subdivisions in high-risk areas are consistent with Cal Fire's standards for slope, turnouts, water pressure and other factors. Also, they must certify that fire protection can be provided by local or state fire agencies in the area, and that firefighters and residents will be able to get in and out of the area from more than one direction.

The bill -- fate uncertain -- is on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's desk.

-- Diane Wedner

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