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Wildfires and climate change: California’s energy future

Posted on 16th April 2019 at 13:38pm

A report from Governor Newsom’s Strike Force published on April 12, 2019 entitled Wildfires and climate change: California’s energy future, outlines steps that the state must take to reduce the incidence and severity of wildfires, including the significant wildfire mitigation and resiliency efforts that the state government has already proposed. It also identifies actions to hold utilities accountable for their behaviour, and discusses potential changes to stabilise California’s utilities to meet the energy needs of customers and the economy.

 

California Wildfires are seen from space by the International Space Station. Image: yelo34|123rf

To accomplish these steps, it is critical that the state:

  • Expands fire prevention activity by improving forest and vegetation management, accelerating fuel reduction projects on both public and private land, investing in new technologies to model and monitor fire risk and strengthening utility oversight so that it invests more in safety
  • Makes communities more resilient by considering updating codes that govern defensible space, encouraging cost-effective hardening of homes and improving land use practices to reduce the damage to life and property from wildfires
  • Invests in fire suppression and response by investing in new fire engines and aircraft, re-deploying National Guard personnel from the border to support fire suppression initiatives, purchasing detection cameras to provide advanced data to firefighters and investing in a state-wide mutual aid system to pre-position resources in high risk areas.
  • Calls on the Federal Government to better manage federal forest land.

The report also explores allocating responsibility for wildfire costs and strengthening utility market regulation.

Read the full report here

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