Wildfire Task Force Update
Advocating for a Resilient Napa Valley
At the Napa Valley Grapegrowers we center our advocacy, research, and education on supporting the community, including the crucial preparation for, and resiliency in the face of, wildfire risks. We are grateful to all the industry and community partners that have worked with us on the following efforts.
To urge Napa County to include funding for fire-related initiatives in its five-year budget forecast, we recently sent a letter to the Napa County Board of Supervisors making this request. The letter seeks funding for a county staff department head for fire issues, Napa Firewise’s Community Wildfire Protection Plan, and a review of current and new early detection systems and technologies. Napa County’s action on these initiatives will provide oversight on CAL FIRE’s $30 million-dollar contract, help to reduce wildfire-fuel load, and identify new technologies that help to alert emergency responders as soon as a fire ignites, potentially saving the loss of lives and property.
A Commitment to Wildfire Resiliency at the Second Fire Resources Fair
Photo by Sarah Anne Risk
Our Fire Resources Fair expanded this year to include 60 vendors at the Napa Valley Expo. In partnership with the Napa Valley Vintners, Napa Firewise and CAL FIRE / Napa County Fire, the event was open to the public free of charge. Attendees were provided with a range of information for safeguarding their property, vineyards, and homes in the event of a wildfire—an ongoing threat despite our wet winter. By providing these resources, attendees who take action can potentially prevent and mitigate the risk of loss in the case of a wildfire.
If you missed the fair, you can find detailed checklists on wildfire preparedness for home and property, fire emergency protocol, and dealing with smoke exposure along with videos on risk management, crop insurance and proper record keeping in both English and Spanish.
Support for California Assembly Bill 54
In March, we submitted a letter of support to the Chair on the Assembly Committee for Agriculture on behalf of Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry's CA AB 54, which will create an advisory committee to recommend the distribution of state funds for winegrape smoke exposure research. Additionally, we provided a letter of support to four Chairs in the Senate and Assembly budget committees to request $5 million to research smoke impact on winegrapes. The losses from wildfires and smoke exposure potentially impacts all of California due to property loss, wage loss, loss of tourism, and loss of production due to smoke exposed grapes. Research to understand and mitigate the impact is critical to avoiding the catastrophic losses of the last six years.
Baseline Data Research with ETS Labs
It was a groundbreaking effort in 2021, when we formed a partnership with ETS Laboratories to conduct baseline data research on smoke exposure and wine grapes, building the world’s largest library of grape samples in the process. Now in its third year, we are happy to continue working with ETS on the findings of this research, which has the potential to influence grape-harvesting decisions in times of fire disaster and even insurance reform.
Insurance and Disaster Relief
The Napa Valley Grapegrowers continues to support Congressman Mike Thompson’s staff as they work to update the 2023 Farm Bill to improve crop insurance coverage and design a permanent disaster assistance program.
After more than two years of advocacy work, we continue to monitor the rollout of the Emergency Relief Program to ensure growers receive recovery aid. As part of this we continue to partner with Morrison & Co., to provide free technical assistance to producers, which to date has resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in recovery aid awarded to Napa Valley Grapegrowers members.
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