The U.S. can stem the tide of wildfire-caused losses of lives, homes, businesses, and communities, but only if local, state, and federal policymakers take action to address risk. As wildfires grab more and more headlines—six of the most destructive wildfires in California history happened last year—some forward-thinking lawmakers and government officials are heeding the call.
As NFPA’s history in tackling structure fire losses over the 20th century have shown, policy changes that implemented the latest codes and standards, increased resources for the fire service, and educating the public about safety has, over time, brought fire deaths to their all-time low in the U.S. The legislative actions undertaken by states today can spur that same change in wildfire destruction.
- SB 12 directs the State Fire Marshal to develop stricter wildfire safety standards for new construction in state responsibility and very high fire hazard severity zones. It also directs local jurisdictions to adopt land use plan elements that promote wildfire hazard avoidance and mitigation.
- SB 63 directs Cal Fire to train and engage qualified third parties to perform defensible space assessments on property in state responsibility areas and to educate those property owners about wildfire mitigation. It would help Cal Fire target its enforcement resources to areas of greatest need.
NFPA Testimony (PDF)
- SB 21-258 directs the administration of state assistance programs to mitigate the risk of wildfire forest restoration and wildfire risk mitigation grants for cross-boundary projects over state and federal lands. It also allows grant program funds towards capacity-building efforts to provide local governments, community groups, and other resources for wildfire mitigation projects.
- SB 21-166, among other provisions, directs the development of regional mutual aid systems for responding fire services to wildfire events. This initiative came out of the Colorado Fire Commission 2020 annual report of recommendations.
- SB 762 acts on a number of recommendations made by the Governor’s Wildfire Response Council, including creating wildfire risk maps for communities to use for land use planning, requiring statewide defensible space standards, wildfire safety building codes, and prioritizing action of fuel management projects, among other provisions.
- NFPA Testimony (PDF)
- HB 1168 focuses on long-term forest health and the reduction of wildfire dangers by providing $125 million every two years to increase wildfire response, improve forest health, and increase community resilience. Among other provisions, it directs reporting to include estimates of progress made in applying funds to plan goals and reducing wildfire risk, directs the creation of a framework to help agency prioritize work, directs mapping of small private holdings to promote landscape scale projects, and includes a workforce development section.
Questions? Comments? Please contact NFPA's Wildfire Division.