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SB-332 Civil liability: prescribed burning operations: gross negligence.(2021-2022)



Current Version: 10/06/21 - Chaptered Compare Versions information image


SECTION 1.

 Section 3333.8 is added to the Civil Code, to read:

3333.8.
 (a) The Legislature finds and declares that in order to meet fuel management goals, the state must rely on private entities to engage in prescribed burning for public benefit.
(b) Notwithstanding Sections 13009 and 13009.1 of the Health and Safety Code, no person shall be liable for any fire suppression or other costs otherwise recoverable pursuant to Section 13009 or 13009.1 of the Health and Safety Code resulting from a prescribed burn if all of the following conditions are met:
(1) The purpose of the burn is for wildland fire hazard reduction, ecological maintenance and restoration, cultural burning, silviculture, or agriculture.
(2) A person certified as a burn boss pursuant to Section 4477 of the Public Resources Code reviewed and approved a written prescription for the burn that includes adequate risk mitigation measures.
(3) The burn is conducted in compliance with the written prescription.
Notwithstanding (4)   Sections 13007 to 13009.1, inclusive, of the Health and Safety Code and Section 4494 of the Public Resources Code, the following persons shall not be liable for any damage or injury to property or persons that is caused by a prescribed burn that  The burn  is authorized pursuant to Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 4411) or Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 4461) of Part 2 of Division 4 of the Public Resources Code unless the prescribed burn was conducted in a grossly negligent manner: Code. 
(5) The burner has a landowner’s written permission or the approval of the governing body of a Native American Tribe to burn.
(6) The burn is conducted in compliance with any air quality permit required pursuant to Article 3 (commencing with Section 41850) of Chapter 3 of Part 4 of Division 26 of the Health and Safety Code.
(7) Cultural burns conducted by a cultural fire practitioner are exempt from paragraphs (2) and (3).
(a) (c)  A person certified as a burn boss  This section shall not be construed to grant immunity from fire suppression or other costs otherwise recoverable  pursuant to Section 4477 of the Public Resources Code. 13009 or 13009.1 of the Health and Safety Code to any person whose conduct constitutes gross negligence. 
(d) Nothing in this section affects the ability of a private or public entity plaintiff to bring a civil action against any defendant.
(e) “Cultural burn” means the intentional application of fire to land by Native American tribes, tribal organizations, or cultural fire practitioners to achieve cultural goals or objectives, including subsistence, ceremonial activities, biodiversity, or other benefits.
(b) (f)  A private landowner upon whose property a person certified as a burn boss pursuant to Section 4477 of the Public Resources Code performs, supervises, or oversees a prescribed burn. “Cultural fire practitioner” means a person associated with a Native American tribe or tribal organization with experience in burning to meet cultural goals or objectives, including subsistence, ceremonial activities, biodiversity, or other benefits.