Code Section Group

Public Resources Code - PRC


  ( Division 4 repealed and added by Stats. 1965, Ch. 1144. )


  ( Part 2 added by Stats. 1965, Ch. 1144. )

CHAPTER 1. Prevention and Control of Forest Fires [4101 - 4205]

  ( Chapter 1 added by Stats. 1965, Ch. 1144. )

ARTICLE 2. General Provisions [4111 - 4123.7]
  ( Article 2 added by Stats. 1965, Ch. 1144. )


The board shall make and enforce such regulations as are necessary and proper for the organization, maintenance, government, and direction of the fire protective system for the prevention and suppression of forest fires which is provided for in this article.

(Added by Stats. 1965, Ch. 1144.)


The department shall divide the state into a suitable and convenient number of administrative districts and shall appoint a supervising forest officer for each district.

(Amended by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1300.)


The supervising forest officers shall, under the direction of the director, have charge of the firefighting system and men in such districts, and are charged with the duty of preventing and extinguishing forest fires and with the performance of such other duties as may be required by the director.

(Amended by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1300.)


(a) The department, in accordance with a plan approved by the board, shall do all of the following:

(1) Provide fire prevention and firefighting implements and apparatus.

(2) Organize fire crews and patrols.

(3) Establish observation stations and other necessary structures.

(4) Employ people to effect the plan.

(5) Construct and maintain telephone lines and provide other means of communication as necessary to prevent and extinguish forest fires.

(b) The department may provide, when available and to the extent that it does not require additional funds, rescue, first aid, and other emergency services to the public in state responsibility areas. Any emergency medical services shall be in accordance with Division 2.5 (commencing with Section 1797) of the Health and Safety Code and any rules and regulations adopted pursuant to that division.

(Amended by Stats. 1987, Ch. 194, Sec. 1. Effective July 23, 1987.)


The department shall actively engage University of California Cooperative Extension, fire safe councils, resource conservation districts, and any other entity with demonstrated expertise to enhance its public education efforts regarding fire prevention and public safety. These public education efforts shall include, but are not limited to, educational activities regarding community wildfire protection plans, community fire safe councils, community and private chipping days, defensible space, prescribed fires, hardened residences, compliance with building standards, evacuation routes, activities that promote fire resiliency or achieve carbon-sequestration benefits in the wildland-urban interface and other forest lands, and activities that promote public safety.

(Added by Stats. 2018, Ch. 624, Sec. 7. (SB 1260) Effective January 1, 2019.)


(a) A contract with a nonpublic entity entered into by the department that includes a provision for the services of pilots to fly firefighting aircraft owned by, or on loan to, the department for the purpose of fighting fire shall expressly provide that, if the pilot dies while performing the duties specified in the contract, eligible survivors, if any, of the pilot shall be paid a one-time death benefit by the department equal to the sum of the following:

(1) The amount of the one-time benefit that the eligible survivors of the pilot would receive if the pilot were subject to the federal Public Safety Officers’ Death Benefits Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 3796 et seq.). This paragraph shall not be applicable if, at the time of the pilot’s death, the eligible survivors of the pilot are entitled to benefits under that act.

(2) An amount, as determined by the department, that would be commensurate with the death benefit payable to a mid-career firefighter employed by the department who died in the line of duty.

(b) The benefits payable pursuant to any contract subject to this section shall be paid to eligible survivors in a lump sum as follows:

(1) If there is no eligible child, to the surviving spouse.

(2) If there is an eligible child or children and a surviving spouse, one-half to the child or to the children in equal shares and one-half to the surviving spouse.

(3) If there is no surviving spouse and there is an eligible child or children, to the eligible child or in equal shares to the eligible children.

(4) If there is no surviving spouse nor any eligible child or children, to the surviving parent or in equal shares to the surviving parents.

(c) If there are no eligible survivors, no benefit shall be payable and a pilot may not otherwise designate a beneficiary to receive the benefits under the contract.

(d) (1) As used in this section, an “eligible survivor” means the surviving spouse, eligible children, or surviving parents of the deceased pilot.

(2) “Surviving spouse” means a spouse who was married to the pilot at the time of the pilot’s death.

(3) “Eligible child” means an unmarried, natural child of the deceased pilot who (A) was born before or after the death of the pilot or is an adopted child or stepchild of the pilot, and (B) is 18 years of age or younger at the time of the pilot’s death, or over the age of 18 years and incapable of self-support due to a physical or mental disability, or between 18 and 22 years of age and pursuing a full-time course of study or training, if the child has not already completed four years of education beyond high school.

(e) This section shall be applicable irrespective of whether the department contracts directly with the pilot or contracts with a third party that employs or contracts with pilots.

(f) Nothing in this section relieves the pilot’s employer from the obligation to secure coverage for workers’ compensation; eliminates or reduces any workers’ compensation benefits otherwise available; or affects, alters, or eliminates any other remedy otherwise available at law.

(g) This section does not apply to a pilot who dies while performing duties in a firefighting aircraft that is owned by the pilot or another entity other than the department pursuant to a contract or agreement with the department, except for a firefighting aircraft on loan to the department pursuant to subdivision (a).

(Amended by Stats. 2021, Ch. 133, Sec. 50. (SB 272) Effective July 23, 2021.)


In providing communications, telecommunications, and necessary powerlines in connection with the prevention and extinguishment of forest fires, the department, with the approval of the Department of General Services, may enter into contracts with the owners of real property for the use of their lands or facilities in locations where no other state tenant exists or to install portable or single use remote telecommunications facilities. Provision may be made for indemnification and holding harmless of the owners of those facilities which are so used by reason of that use. Insurance may be purchased by the Department of General Services, upon request of the department, to protect the state against loss or expense arising out of a contract entered into pursuant to this section.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 306, Sec. 5. (AB 2544) Effective January 1, 2013.)


Any claim for damages arising against the state under Section 4114 or 4115 shall be presented to the Department of General Services in accordance with Part 3 (commencing with Section 900) and Part 4 (commencing with Section 940) of Division 3.6 of Title 1 of the Government Code and, if not covered by insurance, shall be payable only out of funds appropriated by the Legislature for that purpose. If the state has elected to acquire liability insurance, the Department of General Services may automatically deny this claim.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 31, Sec. 268. (SB 836) Effective June 27, 2016.)


Any county, city, or district may adopt ordinances, rules, or regulations to provide fire prevention restrictions or regulations that are necessary to meet local conditions of weather, vegetation, or other fire hazards. Such ordinances, rules, or regulations may be more restrictive than state statutes in order to meet local fire hazard conditions.

(Added by Stats. 1965, Ch. 1144.)


The burning of growing, dead, or downed vegetation is for a public purpose if the department has determined that the burning of such vegetation is necessary for the prevention or suppression of forest fires.

(Amended by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1300.)


The department, or its duly authorized agent, shall enforce the state forest and fire laws. The department may inspect all properties, except the interior of dwellings, subject to the state forest and fire laws, for the purpose of ascertaining compliance with such laws.

(Amended by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1300.)


Notwithstanding any other provision of this code or of law and except as provided in the State Building Standards Law, Part 2.5 (commencing with Section 18901) of Division 13 of the Health and Safety Code, on and after January 1, 1980, the director, the department, or the State Forester shall not adopt nor publish a building standard as defined in Section 18909 of the Health and Safety Code unless the provisions of Sections 18930, 18933, 18938, 18940, 18943, 18944, and 18945 of the Health and Safety Code are expressly excepted in the statute under which the authority to adopt rules, regulations, or orders is delegated. Any building standard adopted in violation of this section shall have no force or effect. Any building standard adopted before January 1, 1980, pursuant to this code and not expressly excepted by statute from such provisions of the State Building Standards Law shall remain in effect only until January 1, 1985, or until adopted, amended, or superseded by provisions published in the State Building Standards Code, whichever occurs sooner.

(Added by Stats. 1979, Ch. 1152.)


When selecting a fuel reduction project, the department shall collaborate with the State Water Resources Control Board and the Department of Fish and Wildlife to ensure the design of the fuel reduction project protects water resources and wildlife habitat while addressing fire behavior and public safety.

(Added by Stats. 2019, Ch. 31, Sec. 21. (SB 85) Effective June 27, 2019.)


(a) The department shall create the Wildfire Resilience Program. The purpose of the program is to assist nonindustrial timberland owners with wildfire resilience efforts by providing technical assistance on multiple topics, including, but not necessarily limited to, helping navigate the permitting process, fuels reduction, fuelbreaks, forest health, and reforestation, for purposes of reducing wildlife risks while maintaining or enhancing habitat, watershed values, and carbon sequestration. This technical assistance shall be provided by department staff and in collaboration with other entities, including, but not necessarily limited to, resource conservation districts and the University of California Cooperative Extension.

(b) The department may use any mechanisms or tools to determine priority areas, including high or very high fire threat zones as described by the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s Fire Hazard Severity Zone map, in a Public Utilities Commission-designated Tier 2 or Tier 3 High Fire Threat District, or in the state responsibility areas where wildfire resilience activities are necessary and serve an important purpose. Where appropriate, the department and its collaborators may conduct outreach efforts to nonindustrial timberland owners in priority areas to provide information and technical assistance.

(c) To provide the technical assistance referenced in subdivision (a), the department may use its forestry assistant specialists or any other personnel classification with the knowledge to inform nonindustrial timberland owners of the options to make their timberland more resilient to wildfire and to take advantage of the other provisions of subdivision (a), with specific outreach on these topics to those nonindustrial timberland owners.

(d) The department shall assist nonindustrial timberland owners by making all of the following information available:

(1) A list of permits needed from state entities to conduct various types of fuel removal projects.

(2) Concise information detailing research and current best practices for wildfire resilience.

(3) A list of the grant opportunities statewide which allow for wildfire resilience activities.

(4) The details of grants made by the department relating to wildfire resilience activities.

(e) The department shall provide technical assistance to nonindustrial timberland owners on how to maintain the benefits of fuel reduction projects.

(Added by Stats. 2018, Ch. 626, Sec. 5. (SB 901) Effective January 1, 2019.)


(a) On or before July 1, 2021, the Natural Resources Agency, in consultation with the State Fire Marshal and the Forest Management Task Force, shall review the regional capacity of each county that contains a very high fire hazard severity zone, as identified by the director pursuant to Section 51178 of the Government Code or Article 9 (commencing with Section 4201), to improve forest health, fire resilience, and safety. The review shall include, but not be limited to, all of the following:

(1) Identification of local or regional entities engaged in fire prevention work, such as resource conservation districts, fire safe councils, state conservancies, and other local agencies.

(2) A review of fire prevention organizational or capacity deficits within each county subject to the review.

(3) Recommendations to improve regional capacity and collaboration within the counties subject to review, including, but not limited to, the development of new organizations or regional districts.

(b) The Natural Resources Agency shall make the review required pursuant to subdivision (a) publicly available on its internet website.

(Added by Stats. 2019, Ch. 391, Sec. 5. (AB 38) Effective January 1, 2020.)

PRCPublic Resources Code - PRC2.