Over the years, local city and county governments have often lead on policy issues, especially where they grow impatient with well-intended State or federal action that never-the-less fails due to politics and the influence pf special interests. Or local governments see the need to move faster than the state or federal government ever could. Examples of local government leadership include policy around solar mandates, the adoption of reach codes that exceed the state minimum energy code, green codes, decarbonization and electrification codes, and most recently policy around Covid. Many feel that the CA code process is too slow, incremental with respect to improvements already in the market, and far too subject to special interests that some perceive as protecting the status quo. Cities and counties can easily adopt well establish design and construction practices that can improvement fire hardening of homes and buildings. This isn’t rocket science. We know how to build superior fire hardening homes and we can do it today. The codes simply need to be brought into alignment with the reality of today’s wildfire events. The CA wildfire code has not changed in a substantive way in improving fire hardening in will over 15 years. It may be time for local governments to stop waiting on the state code process and claim ownership of their future to protect their citizens, the homes and buildings in the jurisdiction, and the financial health and well-being of their local economy, Wildfires devastate homes, business, families and communities. As a result, localities lose populations and tax revenue. These costs certainly outweigh the costs of fire hardening properties, homes and buildings. The community that exceeds code and state or federal minimums, and instead employs best practices will be more resilient than code minimum communities and will have a higher survival rate and continue to thrive, grow and attract more homeowners and businesses.
If the CA wildfire code might only deliver a 51% survival rate of a brand new home, what can be done to improve those odds?