Governor Brown last week signed a bill that allows for tree thinning on private land to include trees up to 24 inches in areas with high fire danger.
Assembly Bill 744 was co-authored by local Republican representatives Assemblymen Brian Dahle and Senator Jim Nielsen.
“I would like to thank the Governor and all of those who helped move this critical piece of legislation through the process late in the legislative session,” Dahle said in an Oct. 8 press release. “It is refreshing to see friendship, bi-partisanship and cooperation like this in Sacramento, something which is sorely missing in America today.”
“In a year of catastrophic fires, this is a very big step toward stewardship, forest and wildland management that will diminish the fuel that feeds these fires,” Nielsen said.
The legislation extends for three years a fuel reduction pilot program in Siskiyou, Modoc and Trinity Counties, as well as the Sierra Nevada Conservancy in areas CAL FIRE has designated the fire danger to be “high” or “very high,” according to the text of the bill found online at California’s Legislative Information website, leginfo.legislature.ca.gov.
The bill allows landowners to thin trees and reduces other fuels on their properties, “following strict guidelines related to the size of trees and extent of the harvest,” said Nielsen.
“I am very pleased that this common sense reform to how we manage our forests will be available to landowners and foresters in the coming years,” said Dahle. “We have seen far too many lost lives, destroyed homes, and ruined watersheds. This bill is a good start, and I look forward to working with Senator Wes Chesbro and the members of the Assembly Natural Resources committee again on these issues when the legislature reconvenes.”
According to CAL FIRE, since 2004, the Forest Fire Prevention Exemption has been used to achieve fuel hazard reduction on 8,408 acres in the state. This bill will allow for an increase in these forest fuel reduction activities.