Governor issues more emergency declarations tied to wildfires

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The continued spread of wildfires in California has led to new declarations of emergency from Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Each of the emergency proclamations trigger protections against price gouging, including rent increases over 10%.

Gov. Gavin Newsom

The latest emergency declarations came Sunday. Counties named in the declaration include Fresno, Madera and Mariposa counties, due to the Creek Fire; San Bernardino County, due to the El Dorado Fire; and San Diego County, due to the Valley Fire. The fires have burned tens of thousands of acres, destroyed homes and caused the evacuation of thousands of residents.

Last month, Newsom declared a statewide emergency amid fires across California exacerbated by the effects of an historic West Coast heat wave and sustained high winds. Fires last month had particular impacts in Napa, Nevada and Monterey counties.

The price-gouging restrictions triggered by the governor’s statewide emergency proclamation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic were also extended through March 4, 2021. That emergency was first declared in early March of this year.

All of these declarations trigger protections against price gouging under Penal Code Section 396, which makes it illegal to increase the price of many consumer goods and services, including that of rental housing, by more than 10% above pre-emergency levels.

Anyone convicted of violating the statewide anti-price-gouging law can face a year in county jail, a fine of up to $10,000, or both, as well as civil penalties. Local ordinances may impose additional penalties.

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