Assemblyman Vince Fong: Critical Legislation to Reduce Catastrophic Wildfire Risks Signed into Law

To help prevent catastrophic wildfires, Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Central Valley) introduced Assembly Bill 297. Fong’s legislation will allow CalFIRE to advance funds for the removal of flammable brush. Nonprofits and local agencies can make requests starting January 1, 2024.

“Preventing catastrophic wildfires in California is a year round effort, and we cannot risk delays. Local governments and firefighting agencies need continued support from the state to reduce fuel loads and protect their communities,” Assemblymember Vince Fong said.

“AB 297 will support local fire prevention efforts across the state by providing needed financial resources to fire-threatened communities to do the critical work to prevent future fires.”

In his support for Assemblyman Vince Fong’s efforts, George Gentry of the California Forestry Association said, “With the passage of AB 297, Calforests would like to thank Assemblyman Fong for his leadership in wildfire prevention. This law will help facilitate and support projects utilizing prescribed grazing, as well as needed flexibility in using advance payments to support fuel reduction projects across California.”

Assembly Bill 297 accelerates wildfire prevention projects by advancing CAL FIRE grant payments to organizations and fire departments responsible for removing overgrown brush. The measure allows grants to be used for animal grazing, a proven fire prevention tool.

President and Chief Executive Office of the Rural County Representatives of California Patrick Blacklock stated, “AB 297 not only ensures communities can continue to jumpstart local fire prevention projects to safeguard residents from the impacts of wildfires, but also recognizes the importance of prescribed grazing to California’s wildfire prevention goals. The bill will keep wildfire mitigation projects moving forward in communities that need them the most.”

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Assemblyman Vince Fong represents the 32nd Assembly District, which encompasses Kern and Tulare Counties.