As Climate Change Exacerbates Wildfire Risk, Western States Adopt and Introduce Legislation to Reduce Wildfire Risk

March 2021

Environmental, Energy & Climate Change Law and Regulation Reporter, Volume 1, Number 6

In recent years, the United States has experienced unprecedented wildfires. (AB 3074, 2020 Reg. Sess., Ch. 259 (Ca. 2020).) In 2020, the U.S. wildfire season broke records and burned 10.2 million acres. (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Events (2021), The structural damage in 2020 was historic; approximately 10,500 structures were damaged or destroyed across California and over 2,000 structures burned in the state of Oregon. (NOAA.)  In 2020 five of the six largest wildfires in California history took place. (AB 9, 2021-2022 Reg. Sess. (Ca. 2021).) As such, after a record-breaking wildfire season in 2020, states across the western United States have adopted and introduced legislation to reduce wildfire risk through several methods including removing barriers on prescribed burns, increasing required defensible space around homes, and funding fuel reduction.

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