Cal Fire, California’s elite wildland firefighting force is set to charge homeowners within Cal Fire’s area of responsibility $145 per inhabitable structure. It’s being called a “fire prevention fee” and the bill will create a Responsibility Area Fire Prevention Fund.
The crux of the issue is hardly arguable.
(c) The costs of fire prevention activities aimed at reducing the effects
of structures in state responsibility areas should be borne by the owners of
(d) Individual owners of structures within state responsibility areas receive
a disproportionately larger benefit from fire prevention activities than that
realized by the state’s citizens generally.
(e) It is the intent of the Legislature that the economic burden of fire
prevention activities that are associated with structures in state responsibility
areas shall be equitably distributed among the citizens of the state who
generally benefit from those activities and those owners of structures in the
state responsibility areas who receive a specific benefit other than that
Assembly Bill No. 29 dictates the fund will feed the following:
Moneys in the fund shall be used only for the following fire prevention
activities, which shall benefit owners of structures within the state
responsibility areas who are required to pay the annual fire prevention fee
pursuant to this chapter:
— Local assistance grants.
— Grants to Fire Safe Councils, the California Conservation Corps, or
certified local conservation corps for fire prevention projects and activities
in the state responsibility areas.
— Grants to a qualified nonprofit organization with a demonstrated
ability to satisfactorily plan, implement, and complete a fire prevention
project applicable to the state responsibility areas.
— Inspections by the department for compliance with defensible space
requirements around structures in state responsibility areas
— Public education to reduce fire risk in the state responsibility areas.
— Fire severity and fire hazard mapping by the department in the state
— Other fire prevention projects in the state responsibility areas,
authorized by the board.
— The board shall establish a local assistance grant program for fire
prevention activities designed to benefit structures within state responsibility
areas, including public education, that are provided by counties and other
local agencies, including special districts, with state responsibility areas
within their jurisdictions.
Kate in Big Sur offers a nice Q and A on the subject for her readers here.