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Forestry experts testify on wildfire prevention methods

Assemblyman Vince Fong

Frustrated at the Newsom Administration's refusal to participate in the Wildfire Prevention and Forest Resiliency hearing and the hearing's indefinite postponement, the Assembly Republican Wildfire Working Group hosted an informational forum on the barriers, challenges and solutions to preventing catastrophic wildfires. 

"As wildfires rage across California, forestry experts provided critical information to prevent these disasters to legislators," said Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Kern County), Vice Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee. "I want to thank Assemblyman Gallagher for his leadership as we push for solutions to save lives and livelihoods."

The fast burning Caldor Fire and the second largest Dixie Fire have ravaged Northern California communities, many represented by the attending lawmakers.  With over half a million acres burned, California is currently on track to have the most devastating wildfire season in recent history.

Healthy forestry experts traveled to the State Capitol to testify before lawmakers on best practices to prevent wildfires. Foresters spoke on opportunities to improve firefighting operations, wildland fire mitigation and recovery services, and measures to prevent wildfires and improve forest health.

 Led by Assemblyman James Gallagher (R-Yuba City), whose district includes the 2017 deadly Camp Fire in Paradise, lawmakers demanded more funding be dedicated to adopt the experts' advice.

 Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Red Bluff), Assembly Republican Leader Marie Waldron (R-Escondido), Assemblyman Frank Bigelow (R-O'Neals, CA), Assemblyman Steven Choi (R-Irvine), Assemblyman Megan Dahle (R-Madera), Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Kern County), Assemblyman Kelly Seyarto (R-Murrieta), Assemblyman Thurston "Smitty" Smith (R-Hesperia) and Assemblywoman Suzette Valladares (R-Santa Clarita) participated. 

Republican lawmakers asked for the following resources:

• $500 million to the California Climate Initiative to be split between Fire Prevention and Forest Health Grants.

• An exemption for all projects funded by the $500 million from CEQA.

• Making SB 901 commitment a continuous appropriation through 2028-29.

Assemblyman Vince Fong represents the 34th Assembly District, encompassing most of Kern County including the communities of Bakersfield, Bear Valley Springs, China Lake, Frazier Park, Golden Hills, Inyokern, Lebec, Oildale, Ridgecrest, Taft and Tehachapi.