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Legislative proposal to promote healthy forest and reduce wildfires passes Committee

Assemblyman Vince Fong

On Jan. 10, the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources passed Assembly Bill 522, a measure by Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Kern County), to promote forest management and build wildfire resilience.

"Catastrophic wildfires have devastated homes and entire communities, and sadly, lives have been lost," said Assemblyman Fong. "Properly managing forests by reducing fuels is a proven method of preventing wildfires."

"This measure allows private landowners to continue their efforts to reduce wildfire risk by removing dead and dying trees from their land."

This program allows private landowners to proceed with critical vegetation management on private land with a streamlined process. Specifically, AB 522 removes barriers for landowners to use the state's Forest Fire Prevention Pilot Project Exemption and extend this successful program into 2026.

This measure, if passed and signed into law, will help the state achieve its goal to treat 500,000 acres per year by 2025. AB 522 is supported by the California Forestry Association, Association of California Water Agencies, California Association of Realtors, Forest Landowners of California and the Personal Insurance Federation of California.

AB 522 now moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for its consideration.

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.