Dodd introduces wildfire technology R&D proposal

Dodd introduces wildfire technology R&D proposal

SACRAMENTO — State Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, today announced legislation to promote the research and development of new technology to prevent and respond to California’s ever-increasing wildfires.

“The escalating frequency and devastation caused by wildfires demands that we seek out emerging technology to address this urgent threat,” Dodd said. “My proposal will help develop advancements and tap innovation from the public and private sectors. It will allow us to work smarter to protect life and property.”

Seventeen of the 20 largest wildfires in California history have occurred since 2000, with six of the seven largest wildfires occurring in 2020 alone. Collectively, the fires have claimed hundreds of lives and caused tens of billions of dollars in damage. Wildfire response costs have strained state and local finances.

Senate Bill 109, introduced Wednesday, calls for the creation of the Office of Wildfire Technology Research and Development under the auspices of the California Office of Emergency Services. It would identify more effective ways to address wildfires, studying, testing and advising state and local agencies on new tools and techniques to prevent and suppress them. It would also serve as a central hub for promising, new ideas.

Dodd has written more than a dozen new laws to improve wildfire prevention and response, including the 2019 bill that established the state’s Wildfire Forecast and Threat Intelligence Integration Center to enhance California’s ability to predict and prepare for wildfires.

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