USA: Here’s how governor-elect Gavin Newsom plans to fight California’s wildfire crisis
By Antonia Blumberg
Improve vegetation management
Newsom knows firsthand the importance of clearing dead brush from fire-prone land. Dried vegetation poses a major wildfire threat and has gotten particularly bad and widespread in California due to years of drought.
Reconstitute the Emergency Council
The council may have once served a purpose but has been largely defunct in recent years. Its last scheduled meeting was on June 30, 2010, according to the council’s website. During his campaign, Newsom has promised to revive the council to address future wildfires and other disasters.
Employ new technologies to predict and respond to disasters
The governor-elect has said he plans to install a network of early-warning infrared cameras that could spot wildfires and alert public safety officials about new blazes. He also said he also wants to use artificial intelligence and improved weather monitoring technology to predict and contain wildfires.
Improve fire-conscious urban planning
“It’s the ‘expanding bull’s eye effect,” Villanova University geographer Stephen M. Strader told The Mercury News in August. “Cities are moving into regions where there were no people before. People and wildfires are coming together more often.”
It’s an issue Newsom has said he wants to address. “As we look to increase the state’s housing supply, we must also convene stakeholders to design the future of urban planning,” he told The Los Angeles Times in September.
Fight climate change
Newsom has promised to continue his predecessor’s legacy of fostering a “more aggressive relationship with the federal government,” which could include fighting Trump’s attempts to dismantle California’s vehicle emissions standards, roll back federal controls on power plant pollution and ease regulations on methane emissions from oil and gas operations.