Laws & Regulations
On July 7, 2011 Assembly Bill X1 29 was signed into law establishing the Fire Prevention Fee. The bill required the State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection (BOF) to establish emergency regulation to implement the new fee at an amount not to exceed $150 per habitable structure within the State Responsibility Area (SRA) plus an inflation cost adjustment factor.
Assembly Bill X1 29 requires the State Board of Equalization (BOE) to issue Fire Prevention Fee bills and collect the Fee within 30 days after the date of the bills.
Assembly Bill X1 29 requires the BOF to adjust the fee each year on July 1, 2013 and annually thereafter, for inflation.
On January 11, 2012, the BOF passed emergency regulation setting the fee at $150 with a $35 credit for habitable structures within a local fire protection agency. In accordance with law, all fees collected, aside from various administrative costs, will be appropriated in the annual Budget Act. The State will use the money to fund a variety of fire prevention activities as specified in the law.On March 6, 2013, permanent regulations were adopted by the BOF.
Assembly Bill X1 29 Justification
- Fire protection of the public trust resources on lands in the state responsibility areas remains a vital interest to California.
- The presence of structures within state responsibility areas can pose an increased risk of fire ignition.
- The costs of fire prevention activities aimed at reducing the effects of structures in state responsibility areas should be borne by the owners of these structures.
- Individual owners of structures within state responsibility areas receive a disproportionately larger benefit from fire prevention activities than that realized by the state's citizens generally.
- It is the intent of the Legislature that the economic burden of fire prevention activities that are associated with structures in state responsibility areas shall be equitably distributed among the citizens of the state who generally benefit from those activities and those owners of structures in the state responsibility areas who receive a specific benefit other than that general benefit.
- It is necessary to impose a fire prevention fee to pay for fire prevention activities in the state responsibility areas that specifically benefit owners of structures in the state responsibility areas.
UPDATE: Assembly Bill 2048 signed into law on September 30, 2014 amended Assembly Bill X1 29 and states that the BOF may adjust the Fire Prevention Fee annually for inflation. The fiscal year 2014-2015 Fire Prevention Fee will not be adjusted and will remain the same as in 2013-2014. In future years, the amount may change.
Assembly Bill 2048 adds that the BOF may exempt from the Fire Prevention Fee any habitable structure that is subsequently deemed to be uninhabitable as a result of a natural disaster during the year for which the fee is due, as well as one subsequent year if the habitable structure has not been repaired or rebuilt. Effective July 1, 2014, the BOF shall consider granting an exemption only if both of the following conditions are met:
- The owner of the habitable structure certifies that the structure is not habitable as a result of a natural disaster.
- The owner of the habitable structure either documents that the habitable structure passed a defensible space inspection conducted by the department or by one if its agents within one year of the date the structure was damaged or destroyed or certifies that clearance as required under Public Resources Code, Section 4291 was in place at the time that the structure was damaged or destroyed as a result of a natural disaster.
For additional information regarding the natural disaster exemption, please go to http://www.firepreventionfee.org/sra_NDE.php.