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AB-2091 Prescribed burns.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 02/07/2018 09:00 PM
AB2091:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 2091


Introduced by Assembly Member Grayson

February 07, 2018


An act to add Article 4 (commencing with Section 4497) to Chapter 7 of Part 2 of Division 4 of the Public Resources Code, relating to burning of lands.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2091, as introduced, Grayson. Prescribed burns.
Existing law authorizes a person, firm, or corporation, or a group or combination of persons, firms, corporations, or groups, that owns or controls brush-covered land, forest lands, woodland, grassland, shrubland, or any combination thereof within a state responsibility area to apply to the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection for permission to utilize a prescribed burning for specified public purposes.
This bill would establish the Prescribed Burning Board in the department. The bill would require the board to establish, on or before January 1, 2022, standards for prescribed burning, and establish standards for certification, recertification, and training for certified and insured prescribed burn managers, among other things. The bill would require the board to establish a schedule of fees for purposes of certifying a prescribed burn manager and would establish the Prescribed Burn Fund for deposit of those fees. The bill would authorize the board to spend the money in the fund, upon appropriation by the Legislature, for purposes of administering the certification program. The bill would provide that an owner, lessee, or occupant of specified lands is not liable for property damage or for injury or death to persons caused by or resulting from prescribed burning conducted on the land if the burn is conducted under the supervision of a certified and insured prescribed burn manager, 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.

 Article 4 (commencing with Section 4497) is added to Chapter 7 of Part 2 of Division 4 of the Public Resources Code, to read:
Article  4. Prescribed Burns

4497.
 For purposes of this article, the following terms have the following meanings:
(a) “Board” means the Prescribed Burning Board.
(b) “Advisory board” means the advisory board established by the Prescribed Burning Board.

4498.
 (a) There is hereby established in the department the Prescribed Burning Board.
(b) The board shall be composed of the following members:
(1) The director, or his or her designee.
(2) The director of the Department of Parks and Recreation, or his or her designee.
(3) The director of the Natural Resources Agency, or his or her designee.
(4) An employee from the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Cooperative Extension.
(5) The director of the Department of Fish and Wildlife, or his or her designee.
(6) The director of the Department of Food and Agriculture, or his or her designee.
(7) The director of the State Air Resources Board, or his or her designee.
(8) The director of the State Water Resources Control Board, or his or her designee.
(9) Five public members, appointed by the director of the department, that represent the following:
(A) Owners of agricultural land.
(B) Persons who are self-employed or employed by a person or entity other than a governmental entity.

4499.
 (a) The board shall establish an advisory board composed of members of the public, including individuals representing the following:
(1) Property owners.
(2) Agriculture, forestry, and livestock producers.
(3) Conservation interests.
(4) Environmental interests.
(5) Insurances interests.
(b) The board shall determine the number of persons and manner of selection of the advisory board.
(c) The advisory board shall provide advice and guidance to the board.

4500.
 On or before January 1, 2022, the board shall accomplish all of the following:
(a) Establish standards for prescribed burning, pursuant to Section 4501.
(b) Develop a comprehensive training curriculum for certified and insured prescribed burn managers and prescribed burning organizations.
(c) Establish standards for certification, recertification, and training for certified and insured prescribed burn managers.
(d) Establish minimum education and professional requirements for instructors for the approved curriculum.
(e) Establish minimum insurance requirements for certified and insured prescribed burn managers and prescribed burning organizations.

4501.
 Minimum prescribed burn standards established by the board pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 4500 shall accomplish all of the following:
(a) Ensure that prescribed burning is the controlled application of fire to naturally occurring or naturalized vegetative fuels under specified environmental conditions in accordance with a written prescription plan that satisfies both of the following:
(1) Is designed to confine the fire to a predetermined area and to accomplish planned land management objectives.
(2) Conforms to the standards established pursuant to this section.
(b) Require that at least one certified and insured prescribed burn manager is present on site during the conduct of the prescribed burn and that the burn is conducted by members of a prescribed burning organization.
(c) Establish appropriate guidelines for size of burning crews sufficient to do both of the following:
(1) Conduct the burn in accordance with the prescription plan.
(2) Provide adequate protection for the safety of persons and adjacent property.
(d) Include standards for notification to adjacent landowners, the department, and local fire authorities.
(e) Include minimum insurance requirements for certified and insured prescribed burn managers and prescribed burning organizations.

4502.
 (a) Minimum standards established by the board for certification as a certified and insured prescribed burn manager shall require the completion of the approved training curriculum to be developed and promulgated by the board and taught by an approved instructor.
(b) The board shall certify a person as a certified and insured prescribed burn manager if the person meets all of the following:
(1) Applies to the board for certification.
(2) Completes an approved training program by an approved instructor.
(3) Pays a reasonable fee to the board in an amount determined by the board pursuant to Section 4502.5.
(4) Meets the insurance requirements established by the board.
(c) The certification shall be for two years.
(d) A person may renew certification only by completing a continuing education program established by the board.
(e) The board shall maintain a register of certified and insured prescribed burn managers and dates of completion of initial and continuing training.

4502.5.
 (a) The board shall establish a schedule of fees for purposes of this article to be assessed on persons seeking certification as a certified and insured prescribed burn manager.
(b) The fees charged, in the aggregate, shall not exceed the reasonable cost to the board of administrating the certification program.
(c) All fees collected by the board shall be deposited in Prescribed Burn Fund, which is hereby created in the State Treasury. Money in the fund may be expended by the board, upon appropriation by the Legislature, for purposes of administering the certification program pursuant to this article.

4503.
 (a) An owner, lessee, or occupant of brush-covered land, forest lands, woodland, grassland, shrubland, or any combination thereof within a state responsibility area is not liable for property damage or for injury or death to persons caused by or resulting from prescribed burning conducted on the land owned by, leased by, or occupied by the person if the prescribed burning is conducted under the supervision of a certified and insured prescribed burn manager and by members of a prescribed burning organization.
(b) The limitation on liability established in subdivision (a) does not apply to an owner, lessee, or occupant described in subdivision (a) unless the burn is conducted under the supervision of a certified and insured prescribed burn manager who has liability insurance coverage as follows:
(1) In an amount of at least one million dollars ($1,000,000) for each single occurrence of bodily injury or death, or injury to or destruction of property.
(2) With a policy period minimum aggregate limit of at least two million dollars ($2,000,000).

4504.
 (a) This article does not modify a landowner's liability for property damage, personal injury, or death resulting from a burn that is not conducted as provided by this article.
(b) This article does not limit a landowner's right to conduct burns on the landowner's property.