Lawsuit Challenges Redding's Wildland Fire Strategy

A local developer has filed a lawsuit claiming the City of Redding didn't give the public a chance to provide input on the future of wildfire risks within city limits.

Posted: Sep 24, 2018 6:52 PM
Updated: Sep 25, 2018 12:02 PM

REDDING, Calif. - A local developer has filed a lawsuit against the City of Redding claiming it didn't give the public an opportunity to provide input on the future of wildfire risks within city limits after the Carr Fire.

Plaintiff Jaxon Baker filed the lawsuit after an August 21 city council meeting where the council voted to continue the city's current open-space strategy.

Baker says the existing strategy is flawed because the city failed to mitigate fuels in the urban-wildland interface resulting in the worst wildfire disaster in Redding's history.

The city passed the strategy based on an addendum from the California Environmental Quality Act which Baker said requires an environmental impact study.

He says that review is necessary considering that the environment has been forever changed after the fire.

And he's also asking that the public be a part of the process.

“At any rate, that's my motivation,” Baker said. “It's just simply to get it to the point where the public has a chance to kick it around a little bit. And I think we can help our city council move forward in a direction that at least most of the public would like to see.”

City manager Barry Tippin says he agrees something needs to be done and he’s aware of the impact that a good fire fuels management program can have against preventing and fighting fires.

And while both sides have different strategies, their goal of fire prevention is the same.

“What's new I think is just trying to find different and more creative ways to deal with the issue as opposed to just relying on each individual homeowner or property owner to deal with it,” Tippin said.

Back in June, even before the Carr fire, Tippin began been looking into the idea of creating a fire district funded through property taxes that would do fire fuels management across the city for both public and private properties.

“Think about every year Calfire and the Redding fire department and others always say a hundred feet of defensible space,” Tippin said. “And they talk about what that looks like, well let's expand that further. Let's talk about defensible space across the entire city.”

Tippin says the proposal could be presented to the city council around mid-October and if approved could go into effect as early as March.

You can click here to check out the full 18-page complaint filed against the city.

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A modest drop in temperatures, increasing clouds and the threat of thunderstorms are all ahead in your Friday forecast. The threat of thunderstorms over very dry fuels is resulting in high fire danger in portions of northern California Friday and Saturday. Some welcome changes are ahead in your extended forecast.
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