Sen. Bill Dodd proposes California wildfire warning center

After four consecutive years of catastrophic wildfires, Napa Democratic Sen. Bill Dodd wants to establish a California wildfire warning center that would allow officials to turn off power and better position firefighting crews during extreme heat and high winds.

“It would give us more tools in trying to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” Dodd told CALmatters as he introduced legislation today.

The bill, SB 209, calls on the California Public Utilities Commission, the Office of Emergency Services and Cal Fire to work together on monitoring fire weather and to make threat assessments. The center would partner with investor-owned utilities as they install weather-monitoring equipment. The hope is to be able to identify high winds and dangerous conditions before a wildfire breaks out.

SB 209 is just one of several wildfire prevention proposals being introduced this session. Dodd is also carrying SB 190 to improve local government plans for defensible space.

There’s no price tag for the bill yet.

“The cost of this a far less than the cost of fighting a fire and then taking care of people and communities after the fire as the state has done in every one of these events,” Dodd says.

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