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Reducing the Destructiveness of Wildfires: Promoting Defensible Space in California


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The 2022-23 Budget: Wildfire and Forest Resilience Package

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.

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[PDF] The 2021-22 Budget: Department of Forestry and Fire Protection

February 4, 2021 - This publication discusses the Governor's 2021-22 January budget proposals for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, including $143 million for hand crews, $8 million for defensible space inspectors, and $54 million for various capital outlay projects.

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The 2020-21 Budget: Governor's Wildfire-Related Proposals

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.

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[PDF] The 2021-22 Budget: Wildfire Resilience Package—Analysis of Individual Programs

February 5, 2021 - This publication provides detailed information and our initial comments on each component of the Governor's 2021-22 package of proposals—totaling $1 billion—to reduce the risk of severe and damaging wildfires. (See also our publication The 2021-22 Budget: Wildfire Resilience Package for an overview of and our initial comments on the package.)

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[PDF] The 2021-22 Budget: Wildfire Resilience Package

February 5, 2021 - This publication provides an overview of and our initial comments on the Governor's 2021-22 package of proposals—totaling $1 billion—to reduce the risk of severe and damaging wildfires. (See also our publication The 2021-22 Budget: Wildfire Resilience Package—Analysis of Individual Programs for more detailed information and comments on each component of the package.)

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Climate Change Impacts Across California - Housing

April 5, 2022 - This report focuses on how a changing climate is affecting the housing sector 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.

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[PDF] Allocating Utility Wildfire Costs: Options and Issues for Consideration

June 21, 2019 - Recent catastrophic wildfires caused by utilities in California have caused tens of billions of dollars in property damage. Under current legal standards, these damages will directly lead to increased costs for utilities, which could be passed on to ratepayers. Moreover, the recognition of increased potential costs associated with wildfire risks has affected the credit markets, contributing to one investor owned utility (Pacific Gas and Electric) declaring bankruptcy, as well as credit downgrades for other utilities. These credit effects will make it more difficult and expensive for utilities to secure financing for capital investments, which will also increase costs for ratepayers, as well as potentially affect other policy goals. The goal of this report is to be a resource for policymakers and the public seeking to better understand the complicated issues surrounding utilities and the costs associated with wildfire risks.

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The 2013-14 Budget: Resources and Environmental Protection

February 19, 2013 - In this report, we review the Governor’s 2013-14 budget proposals for various resources and environmental protection departments and programs, including the Department of Water Resources, Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Department of Parks and Recreation, California Energy Commission, and the Air Resources Board. We identify concerns with several of the proposals and make recommendations for legislative consideration. In some cases, we identify proposals that we think should be rejected or modified. In particular, we point out several budget proposals that would impact state expenditures in future years. We also note that the proposed budget includes several proposals to use certain revenues for different activities that may not be legally allowable given the revenue source. In addition, we identify several issues in the report that we believe merit greater legislative oversight, including a new surcharge on investor-owned utility electricity bills that the California Public Utilities Commission has been collecting since January 2012 without legislative authorization.

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Improving California's Forest and Watershed Management

April 4, 2018 - This report consists of five sections. First, we review the importance of and benefits provided by California’s forests. Second, we provide information regarding how forests are managed in California, including ownership, state and federal policies and programs, and funding. Third, we review the current conditions of forests and watersheds across the state, including the concerning implications and recent consequences of those conditions, as well as the actions that would be needed to make improvements. Fourth, in the findings section, we highlight shortcomings in how the state manages its forests and watersheds. Fifth, we offer recommendations for actions the Legislature could take to improve forest and watershed management in California.

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A Primer: California's Wildland Fire Protection System

April 12, 2005 - California's wildland fire protection system involves multiple levels of government, requires significant levels of personnel and equipment, and relies on a complex series of interagency agreements. This primer is intended to assist the Legislature in understanding how wildland fire protection services are delivered and the major cost drivers affecting spending. We also make recommendations for increasing legislative oversight of state expenditures for wildland fire protection and for reducing these expenditures.