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A wildfire in Northern California (Photo: USDA.gov)

California’s Wildfire Prevention Act

Addresses forest management, fire prevention, funding, utility debt management and cost recovery

By Chris Micheli, July 5, 2022 4:49 pm

California has a number of formal acts in statute. Water Code Division 28 provides for the Wildfire Prevention and Recovery Act of 2019, which is contained in Section 80500 to 80550. Division 28 was added in 2019 by Chapter 79.

Section 80500 provides that nothing in Division 28 is to be construed to reduce or modify an electrical corporation’s obligation to serve. The PUC is required to issue orders it determines are necessary to carry out this section.

Section 80502 specifies that the development and operation of a program as provided in this division is in all respects for the welfare and the benefit of the people of the state, to protect the public peace, health, and safety, and constitutes an essential governmental purpose. And, Division 28 is to be liberally construed in a manner so as to effectuate its purposes and objectives.

Section 80504 provides that the powers and responsibilities of the department established pursuant to this division are separate from, and not governed by, the provisions relating to the State Water Resources Development System.

Section 80506 defines the following terms: “administrator”; “bonds”; “commission”; “electrical corporation”; “fund”; and, “wildfire fund.”

Section 80508 provides that the department may prescribe, adopt, and enforce emergency regulations relating to the administration and enforcement of this division. In addition, the provisions of the Government Code and Public Contract Code applicable to state contracts apply to contracts entered into under this division, unless the department determines that application of any of those provisions to contracts entered into under this division is detrimental to accomplishing the purposes of this division.

Section 80510 provides that all state agencies and other official state organizations, and all persons connected with those agencies and organizations, are required, at the request of the department, to give the department assistance or other cooperation in carrying out the purposes of this division.

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