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AB-1516 Fire prevention: wildfire risk: defensible space and fuels reduction management.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 08/12/2019 02:00 PM
AB1516:v92#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  August 12, 2019
Amended  IN  Senate  July 03, 2019
Amended  IN  Senate  June 11, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  May 06, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 30, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 11, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 28, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1516


Introduced by Assembly Member Friedman
(Principal coauthor: Senator Stern)
(Coauthor: Senator Jackson)

February 22, 2019


An act to amend Sections 23010, 51182, and 51186 of of, and to add and repeal Section 51189.1 of, the Government Code, and to amend Sections 4124.5, 4201, 4291, 4740, and 4741 of, and to add Sections 4204.1, 4204.2, 4291.7, and 4295.6 to, the Public Resources Code, relating to fire prevention.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1516, as amended, Friedman. Fire prevention: wildfire risk: defensible space and fuels reduction management.
(1) Existing law requires the Director of Forestry and Fire Protection to identify areas in the state as very high fire hazard severity zones based on specified criteria and the severity of the fire hazard. Existing law requires that a person who owns, leases, controls, operates, or maintains an occupied dwelling or structure in, upon, or adjoining a mountainous area, forest-covered land, brush-covered land, grass-covered land, or land that is covered with flammable material that is within a very high fire hazard severity zone, as designated by a local agency, or a building or structure in, upon, or adjoining those areas or lands within a state responsibility area, to maintain a defensible space of 100 feet from each side and from the front and rear of the structure, as specified. A repeated violation within a specified timeframe of those requirements is a crime.
This bill would require a person described above to utilize more intense fuel reductions between 5 and 30 feet around the structure, and to create a noncombustible zone within 5 feet of the structure. Because a violation of these provisions would be a crime or expand the scope of an existing crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

This bill would require each local agency having jurisdiction of property upon which conditions that are regulated by the defensible space provisions described above to annually report to the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection the number of inspections, enforcement actions, and estimated compliance rates with those provisions for the property within its jurisdiction. By imposing additional reporting requirements on local agencies, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

This bill would require each local agency having jurisdiction of property upon which conditions that are regulated by the defensible space provisions described above apply and the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to make reasonable efforts to provide notice to affected residents of the above requirements before imposing penalties for a violation of those requirements. By imposing additional duties on local agencies, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
This bill would require the Office of Planning and Research, on or before July 1, 2021, and in consultation with specified state agencies, to conduct a survey of local agencies with jurisdiction over properties located in areas described above to develop an estimate of the level of defensible space inspections occurring in very high fire hazard severity zones, including an estimate of compliance with defensible space requirements.
This bill would require the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to (A), commencing January 1, 2021, ensure the inspection of (A) by May 1, 2020, develop a plan to meet the defensible space inspection goal of inspecting each known structure within a state responsibility area at least once every 3 years, (B) periodically review and provide spot checks of compliance with defensible space requirements in areas where contract counties enforce those requirements within a state responsibility area, establish a pilot program to perform defensible space assessments by specified entities, (C) provide biannual training to applicable local officials on defensible space inspections, and (D) take all feasible steps to improve compliance with defensible space requirements. The bill would require the department, by July 1, 2021, to develop a wildland-urban interface wildfire risk model to determine the risk for a community or parcel within a local responsibility area or a state responsibility area and guidelines for the proper use of the model, as provided. The bill would require the department to establish, and consult with, an advisory workgroup, with specified members, to develop the model. The bill would require the department to update the model and guidelines whenever fire hazard severity zones are revised.
This bill would require the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, subject to availability of funding, to make local fire prevention grants available to certain entities to improve compliance with defensible space requirements in very high fire hazard severity zones through the creation of defensible space assessment or inspection programs.
(2) Existing law requires the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to develop, periodically update, and post on its internet website a guidance document on fuels management for purposes of very high fire hazard severity zones, as designated by a local agency, and requires the guidance document to include, but not be limited to, regionally appropriate vegetation management suggestions that preserve and restore native species.
This bill would limit these native species, for purposes of the guidance document, to those that are fire resistant or drought tolerant, or both.

(3)Existing law provides that the Director of Forestry and Fire Protection may authorize the removal of vegetation that is not consistent with specified standards regarding defensible space, as provided.

This bill would require the director to, where necessary and feasible, use members of the California Conservation Corps, a local conservation corps, a resource conservation district, fire safe councils, or other entities deemed appropriate by the director to remove that vegetation.

(4)

(3) Existing law requires a person that owns, controls, operates, or maintains an electrical transmission or distribution line upon mountainous land, or in forest-covered land, brush-covered land, or grass-covered land, to maintain certain clearances between all vegetation and all conductors that are carrying electric current during those times and in those areas determined to be necessary by the Director of Forestry and Fire Protection or the agency with primary responsibility for the fire protection of those areas. A violation of this provision and other specified provisions relating to fire prevention requirements is a crime.
This bill would require the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, in consultation with the Public Utilities Commission and any person who owns, controls, operates, or maintains any electrical transmission or distribution lines, on or before July 1, 2021, to develop develop, through a public process, a guidebook of vegetation, including tree and shrub species, that, if planted in the vicinity of electrical transmission and distribution lines, cannot encroach within the vicinity of overhead conductors, as provided. For purposes of this provision, and other specified provisions related to firebreaks and vegetation clearance around electrical transmission or distribution lines, as provided, the bill would define person to mean, among other things, a county, city, district, or other local public agency. By expanding the duties of a local public agency, the bill would create a state-mandated program. The bill would require the guidebook to include, but not be limited to, guidelines for planting underneath and to the side of conductors of varying voltages, as provided. The bill would require the department, the Public Utilities Commission, an electrical corporation, and a local publicly owned electric utility to make available on their respective internet websites the above-described guidebook. The bill would prohibit landowners, on or after July 1, 2021, from planting vegetation, including tree and shrub species, in the vicinity of electrical transmission and distribution lines that are inconsistent with, or in a location that would be inconsistent with, the provisions of that guidebook. The bill would prohibit landowners, on or after January 31, 2021, from planting vegetation near electrical transmission and distribution lines and towers that can encroach within 10 feet of overhead conductors at any time. Because a violation of those prohibitions on landowners would be a crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
This bill would authorize, upon completion of the guidebook, San Diego Gas and Electric Company, until July 1, 2026, to enforce the provisions above, as provided, within their its service territory.
This bill would make legislative findings and declarations as to the necessity of a special statute for San Diego Gas and Electric Company.
This bill would specify that the above provisions apply in both a high fire threat district, as determined by the Public Utilities Commission, and a state responsibility area.

(5)

(4) Existing law sets forth findings and declarations of the Legislature relating to the benefits of the state’s expertise in wildland fire prevention and vegetation management on forest, range, and watershed lands.
This bill would revise those findings and declarations of the Legislature.

(6)

(5) Existing law requires the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to assist local governments in preventing future wildland fire and vegetation management problems by making its wildland fire prevention and vegetation management expertise available to local governments to the extent possible within the department’s budgetary limitations.
This bill instead would require the department to assist local governments in preventing future high intensity wildland fires and instituting appropriate fuels management by making its wildland fire prevention and vegetation management expertise and dedicated fuels reduction crews available to local governments to the extent possible within the department’s budgetary limitations. The bill would explicitly define, for these purposes, “local governments” to include cities, counties, special districts, and water and electrical utilities. The bill would authorize the department to establish a cost-share or in-kind contribution requirement for any fuel reduction work conducted pursuant to these provisions, and would require the department to explore opportunities to use its dedicated fuel reduction crews for areas in proximity to common ignition sources, including, but not limited to, roadways, electrical infrastructure, and campgrounds.

(7)

(6) Existing law authorizes a county, by resolution, to loan moneys to certain local and regional districts to enable those districts to perform their functions and meet their obligations.
This bill would include a resource conservation district as a district eligible for a loan from a county.

(8)

(7) The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that with regard to certain mandates no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
With regard to any other mandates, this bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs so mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to the statutory provisions noted above.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 (a) It is the intent of the Legislature that the amendments made by this act to Section 51182 of the Government Code and Section 4291 of the Public Resources Code creating a requirement for a noncombustible zone five feet from a structure should be phased in over time for existing structures.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature that the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection pursue collaborative approaches to achieve compliance with new defensible space requirements taking into account property owners’ financial resources and the scope of work.
(c) It the further the intent of the Legislature that the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection take enforcement actions on violations as a last resort in seeking compliance with the noncombustible zone requirement for existing structures.

SECTION 1.SEC. 2.

 Section 23010 of the Government Code is amended to read:

23010.
 (a) Pursuant to a resolution adopted by its board of supervisors, a county may lend any of its available funds to any community services district, county waterworks district, mosquito abatement district, pest abatement district, fire protection district, flood control and water conservation district, recreation and park district, resource conservation district, regional park district, regional park and open-space district, regional open-space district, resort improvement district, or public cemetery district located wholly within the county, if its funds are or when available will be in the custody of the county or any officer of the county, in order to enable the district to perform its functions and meet its obligations. The loan shall not exceed 85 percent of the district’s anticipated revenue for the fiscal year in which it is made or for the next ensuing fiscal year, and shall be repaid out of that revenue before the payment of any other obligation of the district.
(b) (1) Pursuant to a resolution adopted by its board of supervisors, a county may loan any of its available funds to a special district, in order to enable the district to perform its functions and meet its obligations. The loan shall not exceed 85 percent of the special district’s anticipated property tax revenue projected to be generated for the fiscal year in which it is made or for the next ensuing fiscal year within that portion of the district’s territory that is located within the county. The loan shall be repaid out of any available revenue of the special district before the payment of any other obligation of the district.
(2) For purposes of this subdivision, “special district” means a special district, as defined in Section 54775, that is located in more than one county.
(c) (1) The board of supervisors may borrow funds from the county or from other garbage disposal districts, not to exceed 85 percent of the district’s anticipated revenue for the fiscal year in which they are borrowed or for the next ensuing fiscal year. In levying taxes or prescribing and collecting fees or charges as authorized by this division, the board of supervisors may raise sufficient revenues to repay the loans.
(2) The board of supervisors may lend available district funds to another garbage disposal district, subject to the terms and conditions set forth in this section.
(3) Nothing contained in this section shall prohibit the board of supervisors from borrowing funds from banks or other financial institutions when the best interests of the district are served thereby.
(d) Notwithstanding any other law, funds, when borrowed by a garbage disposal district pursuant to subdivision (c), shall forthwith increase the appropriations of the district for which they are needed. The governing body of the entity from which the funds are borrowed may specify the date and manner in which the funds shall be repaid. The loan shall not exceed 85 percent of the district’s anticipated revenue for the fiscal year in which it is made or for the next ensuing fiscal year, and shall be repaid out of that revenue before the payment of any other obligation of the district.
(e) The district shall pay interest on all funds borrowed from the county at the same rate that the county applies to funds of the district on deposit with the county.

SEC. 2.SEC. 3.

 Section 51182 of the Government Code is amended to read:

51182.
 (a) A person who owns, leases, controls, operates, or maintains an occupied dwelling or occupied structure in, upon, or adjoining a mountainous area, forest-covered land, brush-covered land, grass-covered land, or land that is covered with flammable material, which area or land is within a very high fire hazard severity zone designated by the local agency pursuant to Section 51179, shall at all times do all of the following:
(1) (A) Maintain defensible space of 100 feet from each side and from the front and rear of the structure, but not beyond the property line except as provided in subparagraph (B). The amount of fuel modification necessary shall take into account the flammability of the structure as affected by building material, building standards, location, and type of vegetation. Fuels shall be maintained in a condition so that a wildfire burning under average weather conditions would be unlikely to ignite the structure. This subparagraph does not apply to single specimens of trees or other vegetation that are well-pruned and maintained so as to effectively manage fuels and not form a means of rapidly transmitting fire from other nearby vegetation to a structure or from a structure to other nearby vegetation. The intensity of fuels management may vary within the 100-foot perimeter of the structure, with more intense fuel reductions being utilized between 5 and 30 feet around the structure, and a noncombustible zone being required within 5 feet of the structure. Consistent with fuels management objectives, steps should be taken to minimize erosion.
(B) A greater distance than that required under subparagraph (A) may be required by state law, local ordinance, rule, or regulation. Clearance beyond the property line may only be required if the state law, local ordinance, rule, or regulation includes findings that the clearing is necessary to significantly reduce the risk of transmission of flame or heat sufficient to ignite the structure, and there is no other feasible mitigation measure possible to reduce the risk of ignition or spread of wildfire to the structure. Clearance on adjacent property shall only be conducted following written consent by the adjacent landowner.
(C) An insurance company that insures an occupied dwelling or occupied structure may require a greater distance than that required under subparagraph (A) if a fire expert, designated by the fire chief or fire official from the authority having jurisdiction, provides findings that the clearing is necessary to significantly reduce the risk of transmission of flame or heat sufficient to ignite the structure, and there is no other feasible mitigation measure possible to reduce the risk of ignition or spread of wildfire to the structure. The greater distance may not be beyond the property line unless allowed by state law, local ordinance, rule, or regulation.
(2) Remove that portion of a tree that extends within 10 feet of the outlet of a chimney or stovepipe.
(3) Maintain a tree, shrub, or other plant adjacent to or overhanging a building free of dead or dying wood.
(4) Maintain the roof of a structure free of leaves, needles, or other vegetative materials.
(5) Before constructing a new dwelling or structure that will be occupied or rebuilding an occupied dwelling or occupied structure damaged by a fire in that zone, the construction or rebuilding of which requires a building permit, the owner shall obtain a certification from the local building official that the dwelling or structure, as proposed to be built, complies with all applicable state and local building standards, including those described in subdivision (b) of Section 51189, and shall provide a copy of the certification, upon request, to the insurer providing course of construction insurance coverage for the building or structure. Upon completion of the construction or rebuilding, the owner shall obtain from the local building official, a copy of the final inspection report that demonstrates that the dwelling or structure was constructed in compliance with all applicable state and local building standards, including those described in subdivision (b) of Section 51189, and shall provide a copy of the report, upon request, to the property insurance carrier that insures the dwelling or structure.
(b) A person is not required under this section to manage fuels on land if that person does not have the legal right to manage fuels, nor is a person required to enter upon or to alter property that is owned by any other person without the consent of the owner of the property.
(c) (1) The Department of Forestry and Fire Protection shall develop, periodically update, and post on its internet website a guidance document on fuels management pursuant to this chapter. The guidance document shall include, but not be limited to, regionally appropriate vegetation management suggestions that preserve and restore native species that are fire resistant or drought tolerant, or both, minimize erosion, minimize water consumption, and permit trees near homes for shade, aesthetics, and habitat; and suggestions to minimize or eliminate the risk of flammability of nonvegetative sources of combustion such as woodpiles, propane tanks, decks, and outdoor lawn furniture.
(2) On or before January 1, 2022, the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection shall update the guidance document to include suggestions for creating a noncombustible zone within five feet of a structure.

SEC. 3.SEC. 4.

 Section 51186 of the Government Code is amended to read:

51186.
 (a) The local agency having jurisdiction of property upon which conditions regulated by Section 51182 are being violated shall notify the owner of the property to correct the conditions. If the owner fails to correct the conditions, the local agency may cause the corrections to be made, and the expenses incurred shall become a lien on the property that is the subject of the corrections when recorded in the county recorder’s office in the county in which the real property is located. The priority of the lien shall be as of the date of recording. The lien shall contain the legal description of the real property, the assessor’s parcel number, and the name of the owner of record as shown on the latest equalized assessment roll.

(b)(1)Each local agency having jurisdiction of property upon which conditions that are regulated by Section 51182 shall annually report to the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection the number of inspections, enforcement actions, and estimated compliance rates with Section 51182 for the property within its jurisdiction.

(2)The Department of Forestry and Fire Protection shall make the data described in paragraph (1) publicly available on its internet website.

(c)

(b) (1) Each local agency having jurisdiction of property upon which conditions that are regulated by Section 51182 apply shall make reasonable efforts to provide notice to affected residents within the jurisdiction of the local agency describing the requirements added by the amendments to paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 51182 made in Assembly Bill 1516 of the 2019–20 Regular Session before the imposition of penalties for violating those requirements.
(2) (A) The requirement for a noncombustible zone pursuant to Section 51182 shall not take effect for new structures until the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection updates the guidance document pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (c) of Section 51182.
(B) The requirements for a noncombustible zone pursuant to Section 51182 shall take effect for existing structures one year after the effective date for new structures.

SEC. 5.

 Section 51189.1 is added to the Government Code, to read:

51189.1.
 (a) On or before July 1, 2021, the Office of Planning and Research, in consultation with the Office of Emergency Services and the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, shall conduct a survey of local agencies having jurisdiction over properties upon which conditions that are regulated by Section 51182 apply to develop an estimate of the level of defensible space inspections occurring in very high fire hazard severity zones designated by the local agency pursuant to Section 51179, including an estimate of compliance with Section 51182.
(b) On or before September 1, 2021, the Office of Planning and Research shall report to the appropriate policy committees of the Legislature the information collected by the survey required by subdivision (a) and shall include recommendations for improving defensible space compliance in very high fire hazard severity zones.
(c) Pursuant to Section 10231.5 of the Government Code, this section is repealed on January 1, 2026.

SEC. 6.

 Section 4124.5 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:

4124.5.
 (a) The department shall establish a local assistance grant program for fire prevention activities in California. Groups eligible for grants shall include, but are not limited to, local agencies, resource conservation districts, fire safe councils, the California Conservation Corps, certified local conservation corps, University of California Cooperative Extension, Native American tribes, and qualified nonprofit organizations. The department may establish a cost-share requirement for one or more categories of projects.
(b) The local assistance grant program shall establish a robust year-round fire prevention effort in and near fire threatened communities. The department shall prioritize, to the extent feasible, projects that are multiyear efforts.
(c) Eligible activities shall include, but not be limited to, all of the following:
(1) Development and implementation of public education and outreach programs. Programs may include technical assistance, workforce recruitment and training, and equipment purchases.
(2) Fire prevention activities as defined in Section 4124.
(3) Projects to improve compliance with defensible space requirements as required by Section 4291 through increased inspections and assistance for low-income residents.
(4) Technical assistance to local agencies to improve fire prevention and reduce fire hazards.
(5) Creation of additional “Firewise USA” communities in the state or other community planning or certification programs deemed as appropriate by the department.
(6) Projects to improve public safety, including, but not limited to, access to emergency equipment and improvements to public evacuation routes.
(d) (1) Subject to the availability of funding, the department shall also make local fire prevention grants available to local agencies, fire districts, fire safe councils, the University of California fire advisers, and resource conservation districts to improve compliance with defensible space requirements in very high fire hazard severity zones designated by the local agency pursuant to Section 51179 of the Government Code through the creation of defensible space assessment or inspection programs.
(2) Recipients of grants pursuant to this subdivision shall report to the department the number of assessments or inspections conducted using grant funds, estimated compliance rates, and a summary of any associated public education activities related to defensible space.

(d)

(e) The department may consider the fire risk of an area, the geographic balance of projects, and whether the project is complementary to other fire prevention or forest health activities when awarding local assistance grants.

(e)

(f) (1) Until January 1, 2024, the director may authorize advance payments from a grant awarded pursuant to this section. The advance shall not exceed 25 percent of the total grant award.
(2) The grantee shall expend the funds from the advance payment within six months of receipt, unless the department waives this requirement.
(3) The grantee shall file an accountability report with the department four months from the date of receiving the funds and every four months thereafter.

(f)

(g) The department may expand or amend an existing grant program to meet the requirements of this section.

(g)

(h) Funding for the local assistance grant program created pursuant to this section shall be made upon appropriation by the Legislature.

SEC. 4.SEC. 7.

 Section 4201 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:

4201.
 The purpose of this article is to provide for the classification of lands within state responsibility areas in accordance with both the severity of fire hazard and risk present for the purpose of identifying measures to be taken to retard the rate of spreading and to reduce the potential intensity of uncontrolled fires that threaten to destroy resources, life, or property.

SEC. 5.SEC. 8.

 Section 4204.1 is added to the Public Resources Code, to read:

4204.1.
 (a) On or before July 1, 2021, the department, in consultation with the State Fire Marshal and the Insurance Commissioner, shall develop a wildland-urban interface wildfire risk model, hereafter referred to as the model, that uses current wildfire hazard severity information known for the local responsibility area and the state responsibility area. The model shall be able to determine the risk for a community or parcel in a local responsibility area or state responsibility area through the input of mitigating factors into the model. The mitigation factors shall include, but are not limited to, all of the following:
(1) Defensible space compliance data.
(2) Whether structures meet building standards for comprehensive site and structure fire risk reduction.
(3) Community fire prevention work.
(4) Fire prevention, educational, planning, and mitigation infrastructures.
(b) The department may enter into contracts with an independent group to develop the model.
(c) The department shall review other jurisdictions’ applicable models in the development of the model.
(d) The department shall update the model whenever fire hazard severity zones are revised pursuant to Section 51181 of the Government Code or Section 4202.
(e) (1) The department shall establish, and consult with, an advisory workgroup to develop the model.
(2) The advisory workgroup established pursuant to paragraph (1) shall include all of the following members:
(A) The State Fire Marshal, or the State Fire Marshal’s designee.
(B) The Director of the Office of Emergency Services, or the director’s designee.
(C) The Insurance Commissioner, or the Insurance Commissioner’s designee.
(D) The Director of the Office of Planning and Research, or the director’s designee.
(E) Two representatives from insurers and insurance research organizations that have appropriate expertise in wildfire risk modeling, such as exposure measurement, risk modeling, and actuarial expertise, to be appointed by the department.
(F) Two representatives; one a fire chief, and the other a fire prevention officer, to be appointed by the department.
(G) A representative from the California Professional Firefighters, to be appointed by the department.
(H) A representative from the California Fire Science Consortium, to be appointed by the department.
(I) A representative from the California Building Industry Association, to be appointed by the department.
(J) Two representatives from a local government, to be appointed by the department.
(3) The members of the advisory workgroup shall serve at the pleasure of their respective appointing powers.
(4) The members of the advisory workgroup shall serve without compensation, but each member shall be reimbursed for their actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.
(5) The chairperson of the advisory workgroup shall be the State Fire Marshal, or the State Fire Marshal’s designee.
(6) The vice chairperson of the advisory workgroup shall be the Director of the Office of Emergency Services, or the director’s designee.

SEC. 6.SEC. 9.

 Section 4204.2 is added to the Public Resources Code, to read:

4204.2.
 (a) On or before July 1, 2021, the department shall develop guidelines for the proper use of the wildland-urban interface wildfire risk model developed pursuant to Section 4204.1. 4204.1, hereafter referred to as the model. The guidelines shall include, but are not limited to, all of the following:
(1) The type, quality, and collection frequency of the data related to the mitigation factors with which a local agency using the model is required to comply.
(2) Methods for uploading the data for mitigating factors into the model.
(3) Provisions for making the risk determined by the model available to the department, the Insurance Commissioner, and the residents in the community or parcel for which the risk is being modeled.
(b) The department shall make the model available to a local agency that agrees to comply with the guidelines.
(c) A local agency may modify the model to allow for the input of additional mitigation factors that are locally relevant.
(d) The department shall provide technical assistance to a local agency using the model.
(e) The department shall post on its internet website general information about the model and the local agencies using the model.
(f) The department shall update the guidelines whenever the fire hazard severity zones are revised pursuant to Section 51181 of the Government Code or Section 4202.

SEC. 7.SEC. 10.

 Section 4291 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:

4291.
 (a) A person who owns, leases, controls, operates, or maintains a building or structure in, upon, or adjoining a mountainous area, forest-covered lands, brush-covered lands, grass-covered lands, or land that is covered with flammable material, shall at all times do all of the following:
(1) (A) Maintain defensible space of 100 feet from each side and from the front and rear of the structure, but not beyond the property line, except as provided in subparagraph (B). The amount of fuel modification necessary shall take into account the flammability of the structure as affected by building material, building standards, location, and type of vegetation. Fuels shall be maintained in a condition so that a wildfire burning under average weather conditions would be unlikely to ignite the structure. This subparagraph does not apply to single specimens of trees or other vegetation that are well-pruned and maintained so as to effectively manage fuels and not form a means of rapidly transmitting fire from other nearby vegetation to a structure or from a structure to other nearby vegetation. The intensity of fuels management may vary within the 100-foot perimeter of the structure, with more intense fuel reductions being utilized between 5 and 30 feet around the structure, and a noncombustible zone being required within 5 feet of the structure. Consistent with fuels management objectives, steps should be taken to minimize erosion. For the purposes of this subparagraph, “fuel” means any combustible material, including petroleum-based products and wildland fuels.
(B) A greater distance than that required under subparagraph (A) may be required by state law, local ordinance, rule, or regulation. Clearance beyond the property line may only be required if the state law, local ordinance, rule, or regulation includes findings that the clearing is necessary to significantly reduce the risk of transmission of flame or heat sufficient to ignite the structure, and there is no other feasible mitigation measure possible to reduce the risk of ignition or spread of wildfire to the structure. Clearance on adjacent property shall only be conducted following written consent by the adjacent landowner.
(C) An insurance company that insures an occupied dwelling or occupied structure may require a greater distance than that required under subparagraph (A) if a fire expert, designated by the director, provides findings that the clearing is necessary to significantly reduce the risk of transmission of flame or heat sufficient to ignite the structure, and there is no other feasible mitigation measure possible to reduce the risk of ignition or spread of wildfire to the structure. The greater distance may not be beyond the property line unless allowed by state law, local ordinance, rule, or regulation.
(2) Remove that portion of a tree that extends within 10 feet of the outlet of a chimney or stovepipe.
(3) Maintain a tree, shrub, or other plant adjacent to or overhanging a building free of dead or dying wood.
(4) Maintain the roof of a structure free of leaves, needles, or other vegetative materials.
(5) Before constructing a new building or structure or rebuilding a building or structure damaged by a fire in an area subject to this section, the construction or rebuilding of which requires a building permit, the owner shall obtain a certification from the local building official that the dwelling or structure, as proposed to be built, complies with all applicable state and local building standards, including those described in subdivision (b) of Section 51189 of the Government Code, and shall provide a copy of the certification, upon request, to the insurer providing course of construction insurance coverage for the building or structure. Upon completion of the construction or rebuilding, the owner shall obtain from the local building official, a copy of the final inspection report that demonstrates that the dwelling or structure was constructed in compliance with all applicable state and local building standards, including those described in subdivision (b) of Section 51189 of the Government Code, and shall provide a copy of the report, upon request, to the property insurance carrier that insures the dwelling or structure.
(b) A person is not required under this section to manage fuels on land if that person does not have the legal right to manage fuels, nor is a person required to enter upon or to alter property that is owned by any other person without the consent of the owner of the property.
(c) (1) Except as provided in Section 18930 of the Health and Safety Code, the director may adopt regulations exempting a structure with an exterior constructed entirely of nonflammable materials, or, conditioned upon the contents and composition of the structure, the director may vary the requirements respecting the removing or clearing away of flammable vegetation or other combustible growth with respect to the area surrounding those structures.
(2) An exemption or variance under paragraph (1) shall not apply unless and until the occupant of the structure, or if there is not an occupant, the owner of the structure, files with the department, in a form as the director shall prescribe, a written consent to the inspection of the interior and contents of the structure to ascertain whether this section and the regulations adopted under this section are complied with at all times.
(d) (1)The director may authorize the removal of vegetation that is not consistent with the standards of this section. The director may prescribe a procedure for the removal of that vegetation and make the expense a lien upon the building, structure, or grounds, in the same manner that is applicable to a legislative body under Section 51186 of the Government Code.

(2)The director shall, where necessary and feasible, use members of the California Conservation Corps, a local conservation corps, a resource conservation district, fire safe councils, or other entities deemed appropriate by the director to remove vegetation that is not consistent with the standards of this section pursuant to paragraph (1).

(e) (1) The department shall develop, periodically update, and post on its internet website a guidance document on fuels management pursuant to this chapter. Guidance shall include, but not be limited to, regionally appropriate vegetation management suggestions that preserve and restore native species that are fire resistant or drought tolerant, or both, minimize erosion, minimize water consumption, and permit trees near homes for shade, aesthetics, and habitat; and suggestions to minimize or eliminate the risk of flammability of nonvegetative sources of combustion such as woodpiles, propane tanks, decks, and outdoor lawn furniture.
(2) On or before January 1, 2022, the department shall update the guidance document to include suggestions for creating a noncombustible zone within five feet of a structure.
(f) The department shall do all of the following:
(1) Commencing January 1, 2021, ensure the inspection of On or before May 1, 2020, develop a plan to meet the defensible space inspection goal of inspecting each known structure within a state responsibility area at least once every three years. The plan shall consider defensible space assessments by trained representatives from fire safe councils, University of California fire advisers, and resource conservation districts as a means to achieve its goals.

(2)Periodically review and provide spot checks of compliance with defensible space requirements in areas where contract counties enforce this section.

(2) Establish a pilot program for defensible space assessments by trained representatives from fire safe councils, University of California fire advisers, and resource conservation districts in areas subject to the requirements of this section.
(3) Provide biennial training at each of the department’s units for applicable local officials on defensible space inspections.
(4) Take all feasible steps to improve compliance with this section.
(5) Identify the types of vegetation or fuel that are to be excluded from a noncombustible zone based on the probability that vegetation and fuel will lead to ignition of a structure as a part of the update to the guidance document pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (e).
(6) (A) Make reasonable efforts to provide notice to affected residents describing the requirements added by the amendments to paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) made in Assembly Bill 1516 of the 2019–20 Regular Session before the imposition of penalties for violating those requirements.
(B) (i) The requirement for a noncombustible zone pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) shall not take effect for new structures until the department updates the guidance document pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (e).
(ii) The requirement for a noncombustible zone pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) shall take effect for existing structures one year after the effective date for new structures.
(g) As used in this section, “person” means a private individual, organization, partnership, limited liability company, or corporation.

SEC. 8.SEC. 11.

 Section 4291.7 is added to the Public Resources Code, to read:

4291.7.
 For purposes of Sections 4292, 4293, 4295, 4295.5, and 4295.6, “person” shall mean any agency of the state, county, city, district, or other local public agency, and any individual, firm, association, partnership, business trust, corporation, limited liability company, or company.

SEC. 9.SEC. 12.

 Section 4295.6 is added to the Public Resources Code, to read:

4295.6.
 (a) (1) (A) On or before July 1, 2021, the department, in consultation with the Public Utilities Commission and any person who owns, controls, operates, or maintains any electrical transmission or distribution lines, shall develop develop, through a public process, a guidebook of vegetation, including tree and shrub species, that, if planted in the vicinity of electrical transmission and distribution lines, cannot encroach within the vicinity of overhead conductors such that an electrical utility would need to perform vegetation management in order to mitigate wildfire risk.
(B) The guidebook shall include, but not be limited to, guidelines for planting underneath and to the side of conductors of varying voltages. During development of these planting guidelines, the department shall consider, at a minimum, all of the following:
(i) The potential for the vegetation to hit the conductor by falling, line sway, or branch failure.
(ii) Whether the vegetation is an irrigated orchard of fruit, nut, or citrus trees.
(C) The guidebook shall contain recommended utility-compatible vegetation, including tree and shrub species, to plant in the vicinity of electrical transmission and distribution lines and towers.
(D) The guidebook, to the extent feasible, shall also recommend vegetation, including tree and shrub species, to plant consistent with subparagraph (C) that is either native or provides habitat benefits.
(E) The department and the Public Utilities Commission may use outside expertise, including, but not limited to, existing tree selection guides, when developing the guidebook.
(2) (A) The department and the Public Utilities Commission shall make available on their respective internet websites the guidebook described in paragraph (1).
(B) An electrical corporation, as defined pursuant to in Section 218 of the Public Utilities Code, and a local publicly owned electric utility, as defined pursuant to in Section 224.3 of the Public Utilities Code, shall make available on their respective internet websites the guidebook described in paragraph (1). A violation of this subparagraph by an electrical corporation or a local publicly owned electric utility shall not be subject to Section 4021.
(3) On or after July 1, 2021, landowners shall not plant vegetation, including tree and shrub species, in the vicinity of electrical transmission and distribution lines that are inconsistent with, or in a location that would be inconsistent with, the provisions of the guidebook created pursuant to paragraph (1).
(b) (1) Upon completion of the guidebook required pursuant to subdivision (a), San Diego Gas and Electric Company may enforce this section, pursuant to paragraph (2), within its service territory. If San Diego Gas and Electric Company chooses to enforce this section, it shall include a review of its enforcement efforts under this section in its annual wildfire mitigation plan developed pursuant to Section 8386 of the Public Utilities Code.
(2) San Diego Gas and Electric Company, after providing notice and an opportunity to be heard to the landowner, may remove vegetation that has been planted in violation of this section for purposes of removing that vegetation at the landowner’s expense.
(3) This subdivision shall become inoperative on July 1, 2026.
(c) This section applies in both of the following areas:
(1) A high fire threat district, as determined by the Public Utilities Commission.
(2) A state responsibility area.

SEC. 10.SEC. 13.

 Section 4740 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:

4740.
 The Legislature hereby finds and declares all of the following:
(a) The department has extensive technical expertise in wildland fire prevention and vegetation management on forest, range, and watershed lands. When appropriately applied, this expertise can have significant public resource benefits, including decreasing high intensity wildland fires, improving watershed management, range improvement, improving vegetation management, forest improvement, wildlife habitat improvement, restoring ecological integrity and resilience, improving community wildfire protection, improving carbon resilience, providing enhancement of culturally important resources, and maintenance of air quality.
(b) Because of the scope of the problem of high intensity wildland fires and expertise of the department, local governments, including cities, counties, special districts, and water and electrical utilities, need assistance in preventing future problems resulting from inadequate fire prevention planning and vegetation management.
(c) California will benefit if existing state expertise is made available to local governments, including cities, counties, special districts, and water and electrical utilities, thereby integrating those efforts.

SEC. 11.SEC. 14.

 Section 4741 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:

4741.
 (a) In accordance with policies established by the board, the department shall assist local governments in preventing future high intensity wildland fires and instituting appropriate fuels management by making its wildland fire prevention and vegetation management expertise and dedicated fuels reduction crews available to local governments to the extent possible within the department’s budgetary limitations.
(b) Any department recommendations made pursuant to this article shall be advisory in nature and local governments shall not be required to follow those recommendations.
(c) This section does not alter the existing obligations of a local government or affect the existing liability of a local government.

(d)The department may establish a cost-share or in-kind contribution requirement for any fuel reduction work conducted pursuant to this article.

(e)The department shall explore opportunities to use its dedicated fuel reduction crews for areas in proximity to common ignition sources, including, but not limited to, roadways, electrical infrastructure, and campgrounds.

(f)

(d) For purposes of this section, “local governments” include cities, counties, special districts, and water and electrical utilities.

SEC. 12.SEC. 15.

 With respect to Section 9 12 of this act, the Legislature finds and declares that a special statute is necessary and that a general statute cannot be made applicable within the meaning of Section 16 of Article IV of the California Constitution because San Diego Gas and Electric Company has a small service territory making it uniquely situated to perform a pilot enforcement program.

SEC. 13.SEC. 16.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution for certain costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district because, in that regard, this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.
However, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains other costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.