EXECUTIVE ORDER S-6-05


WHEREAS, on March 7, 2003, a State of Emergency was proclaimed to address the extreme peril to the people, property and environment within the Counties of Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego. This emergency situation of imminent fire danger is caused by the extraordinary number of dead, dying and diseased trees resulting from prolonged drought, overstocked forests and infestation by bark beetles and other decay organisms; and WHEREAS, the amount of dead and dying trees continues to increase, more than 150,000 additional trees died in 2004, bringing the total acres affected up to 247,000, a 36 percent increase over 2003. This represents a significant increase in the readily available fuel load which could result in catastrophic fires; and WHEREAS, aggressive fuels reduction programs and strong initial attack resources remain critical; and WHEREAS, the increased risk of catastrophic wildfires throughout Southern California threatens the lives, property and economic well-being of the people of the state; and WHEREAS, the United States Forest Service and Federal Emergency Management Agency have directed funding to assist in fuel removal and forest health improvement; and WHEREAS, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF), the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (OES) and the Counties of Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego have already taken significant actions to improve routes for the evacuation of people and facilitate emergency response; and WHEREAS, augmentation of fire suppression resources during the previous four years in response to the extraordinary fire conditions has resulted in an overall reduction in the average acres burned (excluding the destructive Southern California Fire Siege in October 2003, which was exacerbated by Santa Ana wind conditions). NOW, THEREFORE, I, ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, Governor of the State of California, by virtue of the power and authority vested in me by the Constitution and statutes of the State of California, do hereby issue this order to become effectively immediately: IT IS ORDERED that CDF shall secure and deploy additional resources as needed to protect the safety of persons and property from wildfires during the 2005 periods of elevated fire risk as follows: * Assign a minimum crew of four firefighters to 53 CDF engines in the Counties of Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego. * Assign additional resources in the CDF Contract Counties of Los Angeles, Ventura and Orange as warranted based on established criteria of fire threat conditions. * Staff four additional CDF Conservation Camp Fire Crews in the Southern portion of the state. * Lease, staff and deploy a helicopter to be based in San Diego County. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that CDF accelerate Fire Safe Clearance Inspections by utilizing every second fire engine for inspections when not engaged in fire fighting operations. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that CDF obtain additional staffing as necessary to support a heightened level of fire prevention public awareness and education delivery utilizing CDF Volunteers in Prevention. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that CDF continue to expedite the processing of contracts and grants of federal funds to the communities as quickly as possible and support all local and regional responses to the bark beetle affected tree eradication and community emergency planning efforts. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that OES, in consultation and coordination with CDF, as fire threat conditions warrant, deploy OES fire engine strike teams to ensure a substantial response capability to any wildland fire situation in California, and that the costs of the deployment shall be reimbursed consistent with the California Fire Service and Rescue Emergency Mutual Aid Plan and the California Fire Assistance Agreement. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the California National Guard prepare its fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, and pre-position ground support equipment as appropriate for immediate response to major wildfires and report to OES weekly on the status of all aircraft. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the California Department of Corrections and the California Youth Authority place the highest priority for assignment of level one inmates and wards to staff Conservation Camp Fire Crews. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the California Conservation Corps report to CDF daily on the status of all its support crews for response to wildfires. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that OES review appropriate state departments to assure preparedness for response to wildfires. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that CDF and OES work closely with federal, state and local government agencies, bordering states, and the government of Mexico to maximize California’s fire prevention and fighting capabilities and to provide appropriate reciprocal assistance when requested. This Order is not intended to, and does not create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable in law or equity, against the State of California, its departments, agencies or other entities, its officers or employees, or any other person. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that as soon as hereafter possible, this order be filed in the Office of the Secretary of State and that widespread publicity and notice be given to this order.