UCLA law students help shape California wildfire policy

June 4, 2021

UCLA law students participating in the California Environmental Legislation and Policy Clinic, hosted by UCLA Law’s Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, conducted wildfire research used to inform Senate Bill 63, introduced by Sen. Henry Stern. Through the aggregation of information from various, often conflicting sources, they created a thorough proposal for local-level wildfire prevention.

Image Source: Stuart Palley/U.S. Forest Service

The students combined existing expert knowledge in a new way, leading to the proposal which focuses on measures such as brush buffer zones and neighborhood coordination. State legislators used this as a model of how different priorities and values could be balanced to help protect citizens. Senate Bill 63 will use the research presented by the students with the intention of helping local communities strengthen their wildfire prevention efforts and providing state funding to repair wildfire-caused damage.

The historic wildfires across California last year made the research project feel more urgent, said second-year Leeza Arbatman. “It was surreal to be doing research or meeting with my team members while the sky outside was dark orange and the air filled with smoke. Tackling this project during such a bad fire season really brought a sense of purpose to our work.”

Learn more at UCLA Newsroom.