California Wildfire Fund
About the California Wildfire Fund
On July 12, 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 1054 and AB 111 (collectively, the “2019 Wildfire Legislation”). The 2019 Wildfire Legislation enacts a broad set of reforms and programs related to utility-caused wildfires in California, including establishing the California Wildfire Fund (“Fund”).
The purpose of the Fund is to provide a source of money to reimburse eligible claims arising from a covered wildfire caused by a utility company that participates in the Fund by assisting in capitalizing the Fund, and undertaking certain other obligations specified in the law. There are three participating utility companies.
Oversight of the administration of the Fund is the responsibility of the California Catastrophe Response Council (“Council”), created under AB 111. You can find out more information about the Council here. Under the oversight of the Council, the California Earthquake Authority (“CEA”) serves as the Administrator of the Fund.*
Important Note to Residents and Business Owners
The Fund exists as a mechanism for utility companies to recover certain costs and expenses arising from covered wildfires. By statute, the Fund is only authorized to distribute funds directly to the utility companies after they have paid or settled eligible claims arising from a covered wildfire.
If you are an individual or business owner seeking a financial recovery or related support from the impact of a wildfire, information on the following sites may be helpful to you:
Fire Victim Trust (for the 2015 Butte Fire, 2017 North Bay Fires and 2018 Camp Fire)
California Community Foundation’s Wildfire Recovery Fund
Wildfire Fund Governance
The newly created California Catastrophe Response Council (Council) is responsible for oversight of the California Wildfire Fund. The Council has nine members, consisting of the following:
Secretary of Natural Resources
One member appointed by the California Senate Rules Committee
One member appointed by the Speaker of the California Assembly
Three members of the public, appointed by the Governor to serve two-year terms
The Governor, Insurance Commissioner, Treasurer and Secretary of Natural Resources are each authorized by law to designate individuals to serve on their behalf as members of the Council. Among other things, the Council is charged with appointing an “Administrator” for the Wildfire Fund. The Council named California Earthquake Authority (CEA)* the Administrator of the California Wildfire Fund on April 23, 2020.
*Assets in the California Earthquake Authority Fund and the California Wildfire Fund are segregated and separately managed and maintained. All costs and expenses incurred by the Authority to administer the Wildfire Fund are allocated to and paid from the Wildfire Fund.