Home>Articles>Bill That Would Create New Wildfire Research And Development Office Introduced in Senate

Senator Bill Dodd. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Bill That Would Create New Wildfire Research And Development Office Introduced in Senate

SB 109 would create the Office of Wildfire Technology Research and Development

By Evan Symon, January 8, 2021 3:12 pm

Thursday a bill that would establish an official wildfire prevention and suppression research and development office within the Office of Emergency Services was introduced to the Senate.

Senate Bill 109, introduced by Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) would have the new office, to be officially called the “Office of Wildfire Technology Research and Development” be responsible for studying, testing, and getting new technology and equipment to better combat wildfires in the future.

Under SB 109, the new office would also work with public, private, and non-profit organizations and companies in finding new  equipment and tools to fight wildfires. A research and development program would also be instituted from within the office. As the new state hub for wildfire fighting equipment and technology, the office would also recommend to state and local agencies, including CalFire and fire departments, on what the best and most effective new equipment and technology is available for them.

Senator Dodd, who has previously written bills that backed new state organizations for wildfire prediction and prevention, wrote the bill to help combat the growing number of wildfires in California. In the last few years, the number of wildfires in California has grown, with six of the seven largest wildfires ever in California history happening last year alone. Wildfires have also gotten more destructive and deadly as well, with the Camp Fire in and around the town of Paradise killing over 80 people and causing billions in damages in November 2018 being the deadliest and costliest in state history.

“The escalating frequency and devastation caused by wildfires demands that we seek out emerging technology to address this urgent threat,” said Senator Dodd in a Thursday press release. “My proposal will help develop advancements and tap innovation from the public and private sectors. It will allow us to work smarter to protect life and property.”

While there has been no real support or opposition from fellow Senators as of Friday, wildfire fighters said that SB 109 could be potentially very helpful.

“You have different departments and local fire departments all going after different things,” former wildfire fighter and current volunteer fireman Ryan Gardener explained to the Globe. “I think this bill can do a lot of good. As long as they have some wildfire fighter vets in that R and D [office], I think we can find the best tools for everyone out there. If there is a tool that, say, can help create a firebreak 5% quicker, that can mean life and death for a lot of people, and that’s something everyone out there should know about and should know that it actually works.”

“If fellow wildfire fighters whose lives have been on the line test these things and found that they work, that’s enough for us and, I would like to think, taxpayers who fund us. You’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who has a house in an area at risk of a wildfire to say no to something that would not only save their house better and more efficiently, but saving their lives too.”

SB 109 is expected to be sent to Senate committees in the coming weeks.

Evan Symon
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8 thoughts on “Bill That Would Create New Wildfire Research And Development Office Introduced in Senate

  1. It figures California would be stupid enough to spend money trying to figure out how to put out fires instead of spending money on forest management to prevent them from happening in the first place Sacramento seems to have a endless supply of worthless ignorant politicians who would rather sit on their ass and pass bill after bill and law after law none of which has any effect on the issue they claim to be trying to solve actually they only seem to consistently make everything worse and of course cost the taxpayers Billions for inept decisions

  2. This is a bad idea with Democrats running it. Their so-called research will say we have to all walk to work, eat tofu, change our gender and recycle more while living in homes without heat or air conditioning. In other words it will be just another leftist outlet for fake science and propaganda.

    If Newsom would send a few billion dollars to his chinese masters they might explain to him how fire works, not that he could understand.

  3. We need to work on forest management and fire prevention, not ways to incrementally improve firefighting. Treat the root cause, not get better at managing symptoms. I reject SB 109.

    1. Hmm, how about they invest in some chainsaws!!
      Prevention is the key, Mr. Dodd.
      But hey you guys like to spend, spend, spend, tax, tax, tax!

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