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SB-209 Wildfires: California Wildfire Warning Center: fire-weather monitoring.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 06/10/2019 09:00 PM
SB209:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  June 10, 2019
Amended  IN  Senate  April 11, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 209


Introduced by Senator Dodd

February 04, 2019


An act to add Chapter 7.1 (commencing with Section 8669) Chapter 7.3 (commencing with Section 8670) to Division 1 of Title 2 of the Government Code, relating to wildfires.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 209, as amended, Dodd. Wildfire: Wildfires: California Wildfire Warning Center: weather fire-weather monitoring.
Existing law provides that the state has long recognized its responsibility to mitigate the effects of natural, manmade, or war-caused emergencies that result in conditions of disaster or in extreme peril to life, property, and the resources of the state, and generally to protect the health and safety and preserve the lives and property of the people of the state.
This bill would establish in the state government the California Wildfire Warning Center. The center would comprise representatives from the Public Utilities Commission, the Office of Emergency Services, the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, two 2 county fire chiefs, a representative of an electrical corporation, and a representative of a the local publicly owned electric utility, utilities, as provided. The center would have various responsibilities relating to fire-threat weather conditions, including overseeing the development and deployment of a statewide network of automated weather and environmental stations designed to observe mesoscale meteorological phenomena that contribute to increased wildfire risk, including a statewide fire weather forecasting, monitoring, and threat assessment system, as provided.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.Chapter 7.1 (commencing with Section 8669) is added to Division 1 of Title 2 of the Government Code, to read:

SECTION 1.

 Chapter 7.3 (commencing with Section 8670) is added to Division 1 of Title 2 of the Government Code, to read:
CHAPTER  7.3. The California Wildfire Warning Center

8669.8670.
 The California Wildfire Warning Center is hereby established in the state government.

8669.1.8670.01.
 For purposes of this chapter, the following terms apply:
(a) “Center” shall mean the California Wildfire Warning Center.
(b) “Electrical corporation” shall have the same meaning as defined in Section 218 of the Public Utilities Code.
(c) “Mesonet deployment plan” shall mean a network of automated weather and environmental monitoring stations designed to observe mesoscale meteorological phenomena.
(d) “Local Publicly publicly owned electric utility” shall have the same meaning as defined in Section 224.3 of the Public Utilities Code.

8669.2.8670.02.
 The center shall comprise 10 representatives, as follows:
(a) Two representatives from the Public Utilities Commission, appointed by the president of the commission.
(b) Two representatives from the Office of Emergency Services, appointed by the director of the office.
(c) Two representatives from the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Protection, appointed by the director of the department.
(d) Two county fire chiefs, jointly appointed by the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the Office of Emergency Services.
(e) One representative of an electrical corporation, appointed by the Public Utilities Commission.
(f) One representative of a the local publicly owned electric utility, utilities with electric transmission or distribution facilities in Tier 2 or Tier 3 High Fire-Threat Districts, appointed by the Public Utilities Commission. ____.

8669.3.8670.03.
 The center shall be responsible for all of the following duties:
(a) Ongoing monitoring of fire-weather and threat conditions as well as ongoing improvement of fire-weather forecasting models.
(b) Receiving and verifying information pertaining to fire threat conditions, utility proactive deenergization of power lines, and active fire events. This subdivision does not authorize the center to require, direct, or approve an electrical corporation or local publicly owned electric utility to deenergize power lines before or during a fire event.
(c) Overseeing the development and deployment of a statewide network of automated weather and environmental stations, in areas not covered by a weather network belonging to an electrical corporation or local publicly owned electric utility, designed to observe mesoscale meteorological phenomena that contribute to increased wildfire risk, including a statewide fire weather forecasting, monitoring, and threat assessment system. Electrical corporations and local publicly owned electric utilities shall share weather data from their weather networks with the center.
(d) (1) Working with fire science experts, including, but not limited to, academic and research institutions, scientists, meteorologists, the National Weather Service, electrical corporations, and local publicly owned electric utilities to develop center approved weather monitoring equipment.
(2) Overseeing the development and deployment of a statewide mesonet deployment plan that will interface effectively with, and without disruption to, an electrical corporation’s and a local publicly owned electric utility’s own systems when necessary to address high fire threat districts that are not served by a fire-threat weather system of an electrical corporation or a local publicly owned electric utility.
(e) The center shall coordinate with each electrical corporation and local publicly owned electric utility to determine the optimum deployment of weather monitoring stations on their networks, starting with Public Utilities Commission Tier 3 high fire threat districts, High Fire-Threat Districts, and followed by Tier 2 districts. High Fire-Threat Districts.
(f) Overseeing the development of a statewide Fire-Threat Potential Index that effectively interfaces with an electrical corporation’s or a local publicly owned electric utility’s fire-threat potential index and ensuring that ensures every geographic area in California is covered by a Fire-Threat Potential Index. The index shall be transparent and subject to revision and improvement as determined by the center.
(g) The center shall coordinate with the United States Forest Service to advance the current red flag warning system to incorporate the Fire-Threat Potential Index and ensure criteria are consistent for declaring red flag warnings.