SACRAMENTO – Legislation introduced by Assemblyman Jim Patterson to make it faster and easier to build new escape routes in high fire danger areas in rural neighborhoods was approved in the Assembly Natural Resources Committee Monday.

AB 1154 would eliminate CEQA requirements for projects that build additional escape routes in high fire-hazard zones. The exemption would apply to neighborhoods identified by the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection where a second access road is needed.

Newly released reports by the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection show many mountain and foothill neighborhoods only have one exit route.

“Deadly, fast-moving wildfires are now the norm,” Patterson said. “We have to do everything in our power to make sure we are prepared to get people out as quickly as possible. If that means building a new exit route, we shouldn’t have to wait for a CEQA report to be completed.”

AB 1154 will be heard next in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.