Code Section Group

Public Resources Code - PRC

DIVISION 4. FORESTS, FORESTRY AND RANGE AND FORAGE LANDS [4001 - 4958]

  ( Division 4 repealed and added by Stats. 1965, Ch. 1144.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

PART 2. PROTECTION OF FOREST, RANGE AND FORAGE LANDS [4101 - 4789.7]

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

CHAPTER 2. Hazardous Fire Areas [4251 - 4290.5]
  ( Chapter 2 added by Stats. 1965, Ch. 1144. )

4251.
  

As used in this chapter:

“Hazardous fire area” means any area which is designated as a hazardous fire area by the board or the director pursuant to Section 4252 or 4253.

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

4252.
  

Upon the written petition of the owners or authorized agents of more than 50 percent of the land, including public land, within the exterior boundaries of any area of not less than 10,000 acres in size, upon which a fire hazard exists due to the presence of flammable material or cover, the board may designate such area as a hazardous fire area, and shall declare the period of time during which the area shall be so designated.

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

4253.
  

When the director determines that a fire hazard exists in any other area due to the presence of flammable material or cover, the director may by regulation designate the area to be a hazardous fire area. The regulation shall declare the period of time during which the area shall be designated.

(Amended by Stats. 2021, Ch. 133, Sec. 65. (SB 272) Effective July 23, 2021.)

4254.
  

Notice of the designation of each hazardous fire area designated pursuant to Section 4252 shall be given by the posting of notices at intervals of not greater than one mile along the exterior boundaries of the area or along roads and trails passing through the area.

(Amended by Stats. 1981, Ch. 1073, Sec. 1.)

4255.
  

(a) Except as provided in this section, a person shall not smoke or build a campfire or other open fire within a hazardous fire area.

(b) The board may designate by regulation campgrounds or campsites within hazardous fire areas where smoking and the building of campfires are allowed. However, no campground or campsite shall be designated without the consent of the owner, or the owner’s authorized agent, of the land upon which it is located.

(Amended by Stats. 2021, Ch. 133, Sec. 66. (SB 272) Effective July 23, 2021.)

4256.
  

When it is necessary in the interest of public peace or safety, the director, with the consent of the owner of any lands designated as a hazardous fire area, may declare those lands closed to entry by any person. Any public highway traversing the hazardous fire area, shall, however, be excluded from the order of closure, and the closure to entry does not prohibit or curtail the entry or use of the lands by the owner of the lands or the owner’s agent, nor the entry by a federal, state or county officer upon the closed area in the performance of their official duties. All state and county law enforcement officers shall enforce the order of closure.

(Amended by Stats. 2021, Ch. 133, Sec. 67. (SB 272) Effective July 23, 2021.)

4257.
  

Any order which is issued pursuant to Section 4256 shall be published twice in at least one newspaper of general circulation in any county that is affected by the order. The publication shall be separated by a period of not less than one week and not more than two weeks. The order shall also be posted in such public places in each county as the director may direct, and along roads and trails which pass through the areas declared to be closed to camping or entry.

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

4258.
  

Whenever the director determines that a fire hazard exists in any area within a state responsibility area due to the presence of flammable material or cover, the director, by regulation, may designate that area as a hazardous fire area for the purpose of prohibiting the use or possession of fireworks therein. The hazardous fire area shall include only those areas that are critical and hazardous due to the threat of wildfire to life, property, and natural resources posed by the fireworks. The hazardous fire area shall not include areas that are the responsibility of a county which is contracting for fire protection to the director.

The regulation may designate areas where specified types of fireworks, not otherwise prohibited, are allowed for industrial, commercial, or agricultural use, for ceremonies, or for emergency signaling.

(Added by Stats. 1981, Ch. 1073, Sec. 3.)

4259.
  

(a) The use or possession of fireworks is prohibited within any hazardous fire area designated pursuant to Section 4252 or 4258. However, the use of fireworks within any hazardous fire area may be allowed, if the use is determined by the director not to present a fire hazard.

(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), fireworks may be possessed in a vehicle on any public highway traversing a hazardous fire area when not otherwise prohibited.

(Added by Stats. 1981, Ch. 1073, Sec. 4.)

4260.
  

No regulation adopted pursuant to this article shall prohibit or curtail the complete possession and use of any area by the owner of the area or the owner’s agent, except that the use or possession of fireworks shall not be allowed in a hazardous fire area designated pursuant to Section 4258, other than as designated for their use or possession pursuant to that section.

(Added by Stats. 1981, Ch. 1073, Sec. 4.5.)

4290.
  

(a) The board shall adopt regulations implementing minimum fire safety standards related to defensible space that are applicable to state responsibility area lands under the authority of the department, and to lands classified and designated as very high fire hazard severity zones, as defined in subdivision (i) of Section 51177 of the Government Code. These regulations apply to the perimeters and access to all residential, commercial, and industrial building construction within state responsibility areas approved after January 1, 1991, and within lands classified and designated as very high fire hazard severity zones, as defined in subdivision (i) of Section 51177 of the Government Code after July 1, 2021. The board may not adopt building standards, as defined in Section 18909 of the Health and Safety Code, under the authority of this section. As an integral part of fire safety standards, the State Fire Marshal has the authority to adopt regulations for roof coverings and openings into the attic areas of buildings specified in Section 13108.5 of the Health and Safety Code. The regulations apply to the placement of mobile homes as defined by National Fire Protection Association standards. These regulations do not apply where an application for a building permit was filed prior to January 1, 1991, or to parcel or tentative maps or other developments approved prior to January 1, 1991, if the final map for the tentative map is approved within the time prescribed by the local ordinance. The regulations shall include all of the following:

(1) Road standards for fire equipment access.

(2) Standards for signs identifying streets, roads, and buildings.

(3) Minimum private water supply reserves for emergency fire use.

(4) Fuel breaks and greenbelts.

(b) The board shall, on and after July 1, 2021, periodically update regulations for fuel breaks and greenbelts near communities to provide greater fire safety for the perimeters to all residential, commercial, and industrial building construction within state responsibility areas and lands classified and designated as very high fire hazard severity zones, as defined in subdivision (i) of Section 51177 of the Government Code, after July 1, 2021. These regulations shall include measures to preserve undeveloped ridgelines to reduce fire risk and improve fire protection. The board shall, by regulation, define “ridgeline” for purposes of this subdivision.

(c) These regulations do not supersede local regulations which equal or exceed minimum regulations adopted by the state.

(d) The board may enter into contracts with technical experts to meet the requirements of this section.

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 626, Sec. 9. (SB 901) Effective January 1, 2019.)

4290.1.
  

(a) On or before July 1, 2022, the board shall develop criteria for and maintain a “Fire Risk Reduction Community” list of local agencies located in a state responsibility area or a very high fire hazard severity zone, identified pursuant to Section 51178 of the Government Code, that meet best practices for local fire planning.

(b) The board shall consider all of the following when developing the criteria for the list required under subdivision (a):

(1) Compliance with the board’s regulations, including minimum fire safety standards.

(2) Participation in the National Fire Protection Association’s “Firewise USA” or the National Wildfire Coordinating Group’s “Fire Adapted Communities” programs.

(3) Adoption of the board’s recommendations to improve the safety element pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 65302.5 of the Government Code.

(4) Recently developed or updated community wildfire protection plans.

(c) The board shall post the “Fire Risk Reduction Community” list on its internet website.

(Amended by Stats. 2019, Ch. 399, Sec. 3. (AB 1823) Effective January 1, 2020.)

4290.5.
  

(a) On or before July 1, 2021, and every five years thereafter, the board, in consultation with the State Fire Marshal, shall survey local governments, including counties, cities, and fire districts, to identify existing subdivisions located in a state responsibility area or a very high fire hazard severity zone, identified pursuant to Section 51178 of the Government Code, without a secondary egress route that are at significant fire risk.

(b) (1) The board, in consultation with the State Fire Marshal and the local government that identified the subdivision, shall develop recommendations to improve the subdivision’s fire safety. The recommendations may include, but are not limited to, the following:

(A) Creating secondary access to the subdivision.

(B) Improvements to the existing access road.

(C) Other additional fire safety measures.

(2) The board shall provide the final recommendations developed pursuant to this subdivision to the local government that identified the subdivision and to the residents of the subdivision.

(c) The board may enter into contracts with an independent group to conduct the survey required in subdivision (a).

(d) For purposes of this section, “subdivision” means an existing residential development of more than 30 dwelling units.

(e) The board shall maintain a list of the subdivisions identified in subdivision (a) and the status of the implementation of the recommendations provided pursuant to subdivision (b).

(Amended by Stats. 2019, Ch. 497, Sec. 217. (AB 991) Effective January 1, 2020.)

PRCPublic Resources Code - PRC