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Law enforcement vehicles patrol a neighborhood in a mandatory evacuation area on Dec. 5 in Ventura.
Law enforcement vehicles patrol a neighborhood in a mandatory evacuation area on Dec. 5 in Ventura. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Jacking up prices for essentials during a state of emergency is illegal, California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra reminded Californians as wildfires continued to burn this week. 

“As our brave firefighters are working to contain the blazes and as many Californians are being evacuated, it should not be open season on innocent victims,” Becerra said in a statement Wednesday. “Our state’s price gouging law protects people impacted by an emergency from illegal price gouging on housing, gas, food and other essential supplies.”

California law generally prohibits charging a price that exceeds, by more than 10%, the price of an item before a state or local declaration of emergency. (There are some exceptions, including a significant increase in the price of labor or materials for the business.) Those who violate the law could face one year of imprisonment, and/or a fine up to $10,000. 

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