Governor Signs Bill to Help Fireproof Homes
Source: Office of Hannah-Beth Jackson
Governor Jerry Brown [last week] signed legislation by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara)to help homeowners pay for repairs that will make their homes more fire resilient. SB 465, the Wildfire Safety Finance Act, allows local governments to expand their Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs to homeowners in high fire hazard areas for fire safety improvements to their homes.
“California must do more to make our communities fire resilient in light of the growing threat of catastrophic wildfires. With the Governor’s support of SB 465 today, California homeowners can get help paying for repairs that will better prepare their homes for the next major fire, which could save lives and help reduce the spread of these fires,” said Senator Jackson, who represents the region that was devastated by the Thomas Fire and serves as Chair of the Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management.
California’s persistent threat of wildfire poses a significant risk to homes and businesses throughout the state. While much is being done to better manage our forests and improve land use decisions to minimize this threat, more needs to be done to “harden” existing homes to make them more resilient to wildfire, such as building with ember-resistant materials.
California’s PACE program provides upfront financing to property owners for energy and water efficiency improvements and seismic safety upgrades to their properties. The financing is then repaid over time through the owner’s property tax bill. SB 465 adds wildfire resilience upgrades to the list of projects eligible for PACE financing. Wildfire resilience improvements include replacing wood or shingle roofs and wood siding, installing chimney spark arrestors, covering vent openings with wire mesh, and installing dual-paned windows.
SB 465 will go into effect on January 1, 2019.
Jackson represents the 19th Senate District, which includes all of Santa Barbara County and western Ventura County.