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ACR-228 California Wildfire Awareness Week and California Master Mutual Aid Awareness Day.(2017-2018)

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Assembly Concurrent Resolution No. 228

Relative to California Wildfire Awareness Week and California Master Mutual Aid Awareness Day.

[ Filed with Secretary of State  June 13, 2018. ]


ACR 228, Limón. California Wildfire Awareness Week and California Master Mutual Aid Awareness Day.
This measure would proclaim the week of May 6 to 12, 2018, inclusive, as California Wildfire Awareness Week, and May 7, 2018, as California Master Mutual Aid Awareness Day. The measure would commemorate the contributions of first responders to a series of natural disasters in 2017 and recognize the contributions that California’s mutual aid disaster response system made in reducing the loss of life and property from these disasters.
Fiscal Committee: NO  

WHEREAS, Recently, California has experienced a drastic increase in the occurrence of large, damaging wildfires. One-half of the largest fires in the state’s recorded history have occurred in just the last 10 years; and
WHEREAS, Wildfires are a natural, periodic occurrence in California. Many native species depend on cyclical fires for survival. Unfortunately, this natural process often conflicts with human land use, and careless or malicious human activity causes many fires that would not have occurred naturally. There needs to be a balance between California’s fire ecology and the need to protect human life and property; and
WHEREAS, Firefighting alone cannot protect all lives and property. Every citizen, especially those living in fire-prone areas, has an important role in preventing loss of life and property from wildfire events; and
WHEREAS, California’s mutual aid disaster response system, managed by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), through which local agencies from throughout the state are rapidly mobilized to respond to wildfires, natural disasters, and human-caused disasters, is seen as the state of the art in its level of organization and the effectiveness of its response; and
WHEREAS, In just the second one-half of 2017, a string of catastrophic events has tested the stamina and courage of our state’s first responders and the capacity of California’s mutual aid system; and
WHEREAS, Catastrophic fires in July of 2017 along the Central Coast and near Yosemite charred an area the size of New York City, forcing thousands to flee their homes and requiring mobilization of nearly 10,000 first responders from over 200 different local agencies; and
WHEREAS, The September 2017 La Tuna Fire, the largest in recent history for the City of Los Angeles, burned 7,500 acres, forced thousands to evacuate Los Angeles and surrounding communities, and required mobilization of 1,000 firefighters from over four dozen local agencies; and
WHEREAS, In October of 2017, the northern California fires in Sonoma, Napa, Lake, Mendocino, Butte, Nevada, and Yuba Counties killed 44 people. It was the deadliest firestorm in state history and destroyed more than 8,000 homes and businesses, including 11 percent of housing stock in Santa Rosa. These fires required the mobilization of over 10,000 firefighters as well as law enforcement and emergency management personnel from nearly 300 local agencies alongside the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) and federal and international agencies; and
WHEREAS, In December 2017, as a result of red flag and extreme weather conditions, multiple fires erupted throughout southern California resulting in major fires in Los Angeles and San Diego Counties, as well as the largest wildfire in California history, the Thomas Fire, which exploded across Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, burning 300,000 acres, destroying at least 800 structures, and once again forced over 8,000 firefighters from over 200 local agencies, CAL FIRE, and federal agencies onto the front lines; and
WHEREAS, Massive mudslides in January 2018, a deadly byproduct of the Thomas Fire, destroyed more than 100 residences and killed 21 people in and around Montecito, with hundreds more saved by quick action from fire and law enforcement first responders called out through mutual aid response; and
WHEREAS, 2017 also saw the mobilization of California first responders in disasters outside our borders, as Hurricanes Harvey and Irma resulted in mobilization of six of California’s eight Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces, putting more than 200 California firefighters and emergency personnel into hurricane rescue and recovery; and
WHEREAS, These and other less-publicized disasters point to the growing and evolving threat facing California and the challenges facing the mutual aid system which must meet this threat with only about one-half of the 1,150 total mutual aid response engines available as recently as a decade ago; and
WHEREAS, While both local and state firefighting resources are stretched to their limits by the ever-widening fire problem, these agencies continue to shoulder an ever-increasing percentage of response in the wildland-urban interface; and
WHEREAS, The men and women on the front lines carry more responsibility and more risk than at any time in our memory, and now, more than ever, the safety of every Californian depends on well-equipped and well-trained committed first responders; now, therefore, be it
Resolved, by the Assembly of the State of California, the Senate thereof concurring, That the Legislature hereby proclaims the week of May 6 to 12, 2018, inclusive, as California Wildfire Awareness Week, and May 7, 2018, as California Master Mutual Aid Awareness Day; and be it further
Resolved, That all Californians are urged to express gratitude and appreciation to the thousands of first responders who put their lives on the line protecting our families; and be it further
Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies of this resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.