SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KION) Last year's fire season led to loss of life and property around the state, and in response, Gov. Gavin Newsom has announced new funding to hire more firefighters.
According to Newsom's office, he used Emergency Fund authorization and approved $80.74 million to hire an additional 1,399 Cal Fire firefighters. The hope is that additional firefighters will help with fuels management and wildfire response.
“In California, climate change is making the hots hotter and the dries drier, leaving us with world record-breaking temperatures and devastating wildfires threatening our communities,” Newsom said. “We aren’t just waiting for the next crisis to hit – this funding will support our heroic firefighters to save lives as they work to prevent and tackle destructive wildfires.”
Newsom's office said they are expecting another dry year around the state because it is experiencing drought conditions, low reservoir storage and below-average snowpack.
The funding will allow Cal Fire to hire 1,256 seasonal firefighters, 24 seasonal firefighters for the California National Guard hand crews that help Cal Fire and 119 firefighters to staff helitack crews.
The governor's January 2021 budget also proposed $1 billion in funding for wildfire and forest management. The Wildfire and Forest Resilience Action Plan would create a strategy to increase the pace and scale of management in an effort to meet the goal of finishing projects of 500,000 acres each year by 2025 and increase the use of prescribed fire.