The frequency and intensity of wildfires have grown dramatically in recent years. Ten of California’s most destructive wildfires have occurred in the past four years, and 2018 was the deadliest and most destructive wildfire year on record. Climate change, rising temperatures, higher sustained winds with severe gusts and prolonged droughts have led to millions of dead and dying trees – creating a growing tinderbox that if contacted by a spark can grow quickly into a massive wildfire.
Action for Wildfire Resiliency supports a package of measures calling for enhanced prevention with clear accountability to reduce wildfire risk, increased investment in emergency response and skilled workers, and swift and fair recovery for victims.
California can’t eliminate all risk and potential ignition sources, but we must commit to greater investment in wildfire mitigation and prevention – especially in high risk areas – to “harden” the electric utility infrastructure that reliably delivers power to tens of millions of customers in every corner of the state.
Equipment, technology and personnel must better reflect the increased risk of wildfires. To ensure emergency responders are better prepared to save lives and property and to prevent future devastation, additional resources are needed to:
Expanding California’s economy so it can support more middle-class jobs requires a resilient energy infrastructure that can deliver ever increasing amounts of clean power safely. In order to install and maintain the advanced technologies that will get us there, we must:
Given the increased intensity and frequency of wildfires, California should consider approaching recovery from wildfires linked to electrical infrastructure like states have done for natural disaster relief for hurricane and flood victims: through a statewide catastrophic recovery fund. A Wildfire Fund would help ensure victims are fairly compensated for their losses and that rates for electricity customers remain stable. A Wildfire Fund would:
Without resilient energy infrastructure, supported by stable public- and investor-owned electric utilities, we jeopardize the state’s ability to meet its clean energy goals. That is why policymakers, working with public- and investor-owned utilities, should require sufficient investment to ensure California maintains a climate-resilient infrastructure.