EXECUTIVE ORDER S-9-04


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 increases, more than 100,000 trees in a six-month period in 2003. In some areas 100% of existing conifer species have died including one-third of the trees in the San Bernardino National Forest and 181,128 acres of non-federal forestland; 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 past three years in response to the extraordinary fire conditions has resulted in an overall 70% fewer acres burned in 2001, 2002 and 2003 (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 2004 fire season 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; * Place back into service ten refurbished fire engines to be staffed with a minimum crew of four firefighters to increase CDF fire engine resources to assist with wildfire suppression in the Counties of Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego; * 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 with CDF, implement a program to predeploy, as fire threat conditions warrant, OES fire engine strike teams to ensure a substantial response capability to any wildland fire situation in Southern 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 preposition 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. 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.