Stern’s SB 63 establishes new wildfire corps
SEPTEMBER 29, 2021
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law Senate Bill 63, “The Wildfire Resilience through Community and Ecology Act,” which will take effect on Jan. 1.
The law introduced by state Sen. Henry Stern, D-Calabasas, who represents parts of the Santa Clarita Valley, will establish a fire resiliency corps at the state and neighborhood levels. The corps will be designed to link with the president’s Civilian Climate Corps proposal, among other things.
“Building resilience within our high fire-risk communities starts with education and training,” Stern, who is the chair of the Senate Natural Resources & Water Committee, said in a prepared statement. “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 will also require the state to identify moderate- and high-severity fire zones. The Building Standards Commission will use this information to establish modified ignition-resistant building standards for these high-risk zones.
Additionally, the bill will make clarifications about defensible spaces and vegetation management laws to ensure 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,” Stern said in the prepared statement.