Forestry and Wildfire
CalForests hosted its Annual Conference last week in Sacramento. The headlining session on Monday featured former Governor Jerry Brown and former CAL FIRE Chief Ken Pimlott discussing the Venado Declaration. Issued in November 2021, the Venado Declaration states that California must treat every forested acre and that forest health funding and investment needs to match that of suppression work. Governor Brown was contrite about the challenge faced to change the narrative inside the Capitol where forest health is thought of in an outdated modality of anti logging, with an acknowledgment that it will be a challenge to overcome those mindsets, particularly with urban elected officials.

Tuesday’s session featured a Legislative Panel attended by Assemblymembers Luz Rivas, Kelly Seyarto, and Jim Wood, and Senator John Laird. Following up on Governor Brown’s thoughts, Assembly member Wood stated that he has been working on legislation to support the productive usage of biomass for energy and other product purposes but is routinely challenged by powerful environmental lobbying groups that oppose everything en masse. Senator Laird continued expressing the challenge that forest health and resilience efforts face in Sacramento but expressed optimism that a reliance on updated fire science have changed the nature of the discussion from a purely emotional one to a reasoned approach that relies on best science.