RCRC has withdrawn its support from Assembly Bill 9, authored by Assembly Member Jim Wood (D- Santa Rosa), and now has no official position. AB 9 was originally introduced as a vehicle to codify the Regional Forest and Fire Capacity (RFFC) program under the California Department of Conservation (DOC), which RCRC supports. However, recent amendments proposed a shift of several fire prevention programs under CAL FIRE, along with a few that are currently under the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection (BOF), to the Office of the State Fire Marshal (OFSM). The amendments would create a Deputy Director of Community Wildfire Preparedness and Mitigation to oversee all of the following: 

  • The Fire Prevention Grants Program;
  • Defensible space requirements;
  • The California wildfire mitigation financial assistance program;
  • The establishment of fire hazard severity zones and very high fire hazard severity zones;
  • Working with local governments to identify subdivisions that are without secondary egress routes, and developing recommendations to improve the subdivision’s fire safety;
  • Utility wildfire mitigation plans;
  • General plan safety element review; and,
  • Wildland building code standards. 

AB 9 would also create a Wildfire Mitigation Advisory Committee, which could include membership from local governments. 

RCRC has no existing policy on the amendments to AB 9, and given the late stage in the legislative process, withdrew support in order to more carefully review the overarching implications of the new provisions. RCRC’s letter can be accessed here. For more information, contact Staci Heaton, RCRC Senior Regulatory Affairs Advocate by email or call (916) 447-4806.