January 10, 2019 - Government agencies are responsible for reacting quickly to disasters to help limit damage to people and their property. This includes assessing the disaster situation and bringing in the necessary resources to respond in a coordinated way. This post describes the state system used to facilitate a coordinated response to disasters. It also describes various types of disaster declarations that state and local governments make in order to receive financial assistance for response and recovery costs.
February 21, 2020 - While wildfires have always been a natural part of California’s ecosystems, recent increases in the severity of wildfires and the adverse impacts on communities have increased the focus on the state’s ability to effectively prevent, mitigate, and respond to wildfire risks. This report has two parts. First, we assess the state’s approach to addressing wildfire risks in light of the complex challenges that make an efficient and effective approach difficult. Second, we evaluate the Governor’s various wildfire‑related budget proposals in the absence of having a statewide strategic wildfire plan.
April 5, 2022 - This report contains four primary sections: (1) a description of the five key climate hazards affecting California, (2) the major ways those hazards impact sectors across the state, (3) significant existing state‑level efforts underway to address climate change impacts, and (4) key issues for the Legislature to consider in response to these impacts. This is one of a series of reports summarizing how climate change will impact different sectors across California.
January 31, 2019 - Presented to: Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee
March 1, 2018 - The Governor’s budget assumes $760 million in additional General Fund will be needed in 2017‑18 for response and recovery associated with the 2017 fires in Northern and Southern California, $388 million of which will be reimbursed by the federal government in 2018‑19. For 2018‑19, the Governor proposes a total of $35 million from the General Fund for recovery costs associated the fires in Northern California, such as related to rebuilding public infrastructure and backfilling local tax revenue losses. While we do not raise specific concerns about the administration’s funding requests, we recommend that the Legislature direct the administration to report at budget hearings on the proposed funding and submit formal proposals for any future budget-year funding requests. We also recommend that the Legislature consider its priorities for allocating assistance to local governments affected by disasters and longer-term strategies for reducing future wildfire risk, such as strategies to improve forest health.
Correction (3/12/18): When this post was originally published, Figure 1 displayed the wrong graph. The correct graph is now in place.
April 5, 2022 - This report focuses on how a changing climate is affecting the health of Californians and key issues the Legislature faces in responding to those impacts. This is one of a series of reports summarizing how climate change will impact different sectors across California.
September 30, 2021 - A key strategy for reducing home losses during wildfires is for homeowners to maintain an area free of excess or dead vegetation around their homes, known as defensible space. This report identifies the challenges to improving the number of homeowners in compliance with existing state and local defensible space requirements and provides recommendations to address these challenges in order to reduce the destructiveness of future wildfires.
January 10, 2019 - In the event of a large-scale disaster, state and local governments, individuals and households, and businesses all can face damage to their properties and other possessions. Many of these losses ultimately are borne by these entities or individuals, their insurance, or the parties deemed responsible for the disaster, if applicable. However, both the federal government and the State of California provide various types of financial and in-kind assistance following certain disasters to offset some of the costs associated with recovering from disasters. Notably, the type of federal and state assistance that is available can vary by disaster, with some assistance only available in the aftermath of larger state or federally declared disasters. In this post, we summarize some of the major types of recovery assistance that can be available.
March 22, 2017 - This report is intended to provide basic information about floods and flood management in California. (Whereas previous generations referred to “flood control” or “flood prevention” activities, experts now prefer the term “flood management” in acknowledgement that floodwaters are recurring and inevitable.) We begin by summarizing the history, causes, and risk of floods across the state. We then describe flood management agencies, infrastructure, and strategies, as well as how governmental agencies typically respond when floods occur. Next, we describe the spending levels and funding sources currently supporting flood management efforts, as well as estimates for how much additional funding may be needed to improve those efforts. We conclude by highlighting some key challenges confronting the state in contemplating how best to manage floods in California.
January 26, 2022 - In this brief, we provide our initial assessment and recommendations in response to the Governor's wildfire resilience package, which would provide $1.2 billion over two years (including $800 million of new funding) for proposals intended to reduce the risk of severe and damaging wildfires.
February 20, 2022 - In this brief, we provide our assessment and recommendations on the Governor’s 2022-23 budget proposals for the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.
January 3, 2008 - With the recent Southern California wildfires, there has been significant interest in the programs that are available to help disaster victims. The purpose of this memorandum is to provide information on the programs and funds available to deal with state disasters. We provide links to more specific information, such as program eligibility and rules.
April 5, 2022 - This report focuses on how a changing climate is affecting early childhood and K‑12 education, and key issues the Legislature faces in responding to those impacts. This is one of a series of reports summarizing how climate change will impact different sectors across California.
January 9, 2020 - This post summarizes the current efforts being undertaken by state departments to assess the vulnerability of state facilities to the future impacts of climate change. We find that most state agencies are only in the early stages of conducting such assessments, which are a critical first step of a multistep process of planning to reduce risks to state assets and public services. We provide a number of oversight questions the Legislature can use to monitor what progress is being made by individual state departments.