June 25, 2019
But New California Golden Fleece® Award Report Offers Solutions to Prevent Future Disasters
Oakland, Calif.More Californians will needlessly die, more homes will be destroyed, and more lives will be upended by out-of-control wildfiresbut much of this destruction will have been preventable.
So says Independent Institute Senior Fellow Lawrence McQuillan, Director of the California Golden Fleece® Awardsthe latest of which he has just awarded to a group of government agencies that failed to heed the lessons of 2017 and 2018.
The California Golden Fleece® Award is a dishonor given by the Independent Institute to California agencies or government projects that swindle taxpayers or break the public trust. And the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire) and the U.S. Forest Service, along with others, have done just that.
Californias wildfires of 2017 and 2018 were the worst in the states historykilling more than 140 people and scorching 3 million acres of land. But CalFire and the Forest Service did not draw the obvious conclusions from the historic devastation. These entities continued to pay almost no attention to fire prevention, a fact detailed in this devastating indictment: California Wildfires: Key Recommendations to Prevent Future Disasters.
But the report also makes key recommendations regarding how Californians may be spared future seasons of burning and death. Early detection, rapid suppression, institutional reforms, and the deployment of advanced technologiesthese are the means by which Californians will be spared future destruction wreaked by megafires.
As Dr. McQuillan makes clear, however, the broad cultural change to embrace innovation, technology, a focus on prevention, and vastly more local control and independent action, will not come without effort. But, as every Californian knows, the stakes of not making that effort are high indeed.
To schedule an interview with Independent Senior Fellow Lawrence McQuillan, contact Rob Ade at [email protected], or (510) 635-3690. The California Golden Fleece® Award report is available at www.independent.org/cagoldenfleece/.