Newsom Issues State of Emergency on Wildfires, Releases Additional Details on Emergency Preparedness Campaign

Last Friday, Governor Gavin Newsom declared a statewide emergency on wildfires and directed his Administration to expedite forest management activities to protect 200 communities at an elevated wildfire risk ahead of the upcoming fire season. Newsom’s executive order provides waivers of administrative and regulatory requirements and allow action to be taken in the next 12 months to allow specified entities to forego certain environmental reviews and expedite competitive bidding for contracts. Friday’s executive order follow’s Newsom’s previous order, issued on his first day in office, directing the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) to recommend immediate, medium-, and long-term actions to prevent destructive wildfires.

Additionally, on Friday, Governor Newsom announced additional details on the $50 million California for All Emergency Preparedness Campaign, which is a joint initiative between Cal Volunteers and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (OES). The campaign will augment efforts of first responders by ensuring that at least one million of the most vulnerable Californians are connected to culturally- and linguistically-competent support during emergencies. Specifically, the emergency preparedness campaign will provide:

  • $24.25 million in grants to community-based organizations to prepared residents for natural disasters through education and resources
  • $12.6 million to support community efforts to build resiliency and respond to disasters by dispatching expert disaster teams to key regions and expanding citizen emergency response teams (CERT)
  • $13.15 million to assist community groups in the development of a linguistically- and culturally-appropriate public awareness and outreach campaign, directed specifically at the most vulnerable California communities

Recall, funding for the California for All Emergency Preparedness Campaign was provided through AB 72 (Chapter 1, Statutes of 2019) signed into law by Governor Brown last month.

The Newsom Administration also issued on Friday Emergency Alert and Warning Guidelines pursuant to SB 833 (Chapter 617, Statutes of 2018), which aim to assist local jurisdictions with clear guidance on communication procedures and protocols in emergencies.

The full announcement from Governor Newsom is available here.