California to waive environmental rules for fire season prep
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom is declaring a state of emergency to speed up forest management ahead of the next wildfire season.
Newsom will sign an order Friday allowing fire officials to bypass environmental and other regulations to clear dead trees and vegetation more quickly. It will apply to 35 projects across 90,000 acres.
Newsom says the number of dead trees is increasing the state’s wildfire risk. California experienced two of its deadliest and most destructive wildfire seasons in 2017 and 2018.
Kathryn Phillips of the Sierra Club says waiving environmental regulations could have unintended consequences.
Newsom is spending $50 million on public outreach around disaster preparedness and response in disadvantaged communities. He’s also making it easier for state government to work with the private sector on innovative wildfire solutions.