SACRAMENTO — California’s Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management, chaired by Assemblywoman Christy Smith, D-Santa Clarita, will hold an informational hearing about wildfires in the state on Tuesday, May 14, starting at 9:30 a.m.
The hearing at California State Capitol in Room 4202 comes at the heels of the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in the state’s history.
Started on November 8, 2018, the Camp Fire became the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history. It is also the deadliest wildfire in the United States since the Cloquet fire in 1918.
Wildfires are not only more frequent but far more devastating. Fifteen of the 20 most destructive wildfires in the state’s history have occurred since 2000; ten of the most destructive fires have occurred since 2015.
Furthermore, the state’s fire season is now almost year round and more than 25 million acres of California wildlands are now classified as under very high or extreme fire threat. Approximately 25 percent of the state’s population – 11 million people – lives in that high-risk area.
The hearing will look at the state’s preparation for this “new normal” of fighting wildfires.
The Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management includes:
* Assemblywoman Christy Smith, Chair
* Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry
* Assemblyman Heath Flora
* Assemblymember Adam Gray
* Assemblyman Tom Lackey
* Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez
* Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez
* Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, Vice Chair
* Senator Patricia Bates
* Senator Bill Dodd
* Senator Cathleen Galgiani
* Senator Mike McGuire
* Senator Richard Pan
* Senator Jeff Stone
“Devastating wildfires are becoming a pervasive threat to the safety of our lives, our families and our homes,” Smith said in a statement Monday.
“I look forward to the insights the informational hearing will provide as we continue to safeguard our communities from destructive wildfires,” she said. “This hearing will serve as the first of many steps my colleagues and I will take as we work on strategies to best protect our communities across California.”
“Over the last two years, California has experienced the largest and most destructive wildfire seasons in its history,” said Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), Vice Chair of the Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management, in a statement.
“Our persistent threat of wildfire poses a significant risk to homes and businesses throughout the state,” she said. “As we approach the next wildfire season, many Californians are wondering whether their community will be next and how to be prepared. This hearing is an opportunity for lawmakers and state agencies to discuss what is being done and how we can best protect our communities from one of the greatest threats facing our state today.”
Smith represents California’s 38th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Santa Clarita, Simi Valley, Agua Dulce, Castaic, Santa Susana Knolls and North San Fernando Valley.