Are Major Wildfires the New Normal for California?

Two local legislators seek to improve warning systems before the next one strikes.

After the Thomas fire burned over 270,000 acres in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, local politicians are looking to introduce several pieces of legislation to improve emergency response. State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson and Assemblymember Monique Limón, both Democrats representing Santa Barbara, hope this proactive approach will streamline evacuations and limit casualties.

According to The Huffington Post, “Jackson and Limón aim to address the shortcomings of an emergency alert system meant to forewarn residents of an approaching fire. The lawmakers also seek to improve emergency communications with non-English-speaking residents and to reduce the wildfire risk as new developments are built.

With climate change exacerbating extreme weather patterns in California—including the kind of high temperatures and long periods of drought that create ideal conditions for wildfires—Jackson said in a statement that the state must fortify its emergency alert system.

“’Recent California wildfires have driven home how important it is that we have a way to notify people quickly and effectively, so they can leave burning neighborhoods, check in on loved ones, and make the best choices for their safety at any hour of the day or night,’ Jackson said.”

You can read more about the legislative push here.

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