Bipartisan support for Fong's legislative proposal to reduce wildfires
Assemblyman Vince Fong
February 5, 2022
With increasing risks of wildfires year-round, a legislative measure to help land owners combat wildfires clears the Assembly Floor with bipartisan support. Introduced by Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Kern County), Assembly Bill 522, promotes forest management and builds wildfire resilience.
"Reducing fuels and properly managing forest lands are proven methods of preventing future fires," said Assemblyman Fong. "This bill enhances the pace and scale of healthy forest management to protect our communities from catastrophic wildfires."
In his support for Fong's bill, Matt Dias, President and CEO of the California Forestry Association stated, "The back-to-back catastrophic fire seasons that California experienced in 2020 and 2021 highlight the need to increase the pace and scale of fuel reduction projects in the state."
"Extending the sunset on the Forest Fire Prevention Exemption to January 1, 2026 will ensure that landowners continue to have access to this important tool as they work collaboratively with the state and local governments to prevent and reduce the severity of future wildfires," Dias added.
This proposal allows private landowners to proceed with critical vegetation management on private land with a streamlined process. Specifically, AB 522 extends the sunset date for landowners to use the state's successful Forest Fire Prevention Pilot Project Exemption until January 1, 2026.
This measure will help the state achieve its goal to treat 500,000 acres per year by 2025.
"Private landowners play a pivotal role in managing healthy forests. This measure allows them to help prevent wildfires," Fong added.
AB 522 is also supported by the California Farm Bureau Federation, Association of California Water Agencies, California Association of Realtors, Personal Insurance Federation of California, and Forest Landowners of California.
AB 522 now moves to the Senate to await a committee hearing.
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.