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New California Law Increases Protections For Prescribed Burning

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Sacramento, CA — Prescribed burning is a strategy to improve forest health and preventatively reduce the scope of large wildfires.

However, sometimes they can get out of control and cause unplanned damage. A bill signed yesterday by California Governor Gavin Newsom helps private landowners in those cases. It increases the legal threshold to require the payment of suppression costs from the current simple negligence to the more severe gross negligence.

Groups like community Fire Safe Councils are generally required to used certified burn bosses or government forestry officers to plan and manage the burns. Government workers are generally protected from liability, and the new law extends those protections to private burn bosses.

Proponents argue it is a positive step by removing one of the hurdles limiting forest management efforts.

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