jdsupra – excerpt
Evidence about past wildfires and the risk of future wildfires impacting residents near a proposed project does not require the lead agency to prepare an environmental impact report unless there is substantial evidence supporting a fair argument that the project may exacerbate existing wildfire hazards. Newtown Preservation Society v. County of El Dorado, No. C092069 (3rd Dist., June 16, 2021).
The case involved the replacement of a bridge over South Fork Weber Creek in El Dorado County. The county would acquire a temporary easement over a property near the existing bridge to build a temporary evacuation route during project construction. The county prepared a mitigated negative declaration for the project. The MND determined that the project’s hazards impacts would be less-than-significant. In particular, the MND concluded that the project would not impair implementation of or physically interfere with an adopted emergency response plan or emergency evacuation plan, and would not expose people or structures to a new or increased significant risk of loss, injury, or death involving wildland fires… (more)