$50M allocated to fund wildfire programs

$50M allocated to fund wildfire programs

13 June 2018

Published by http://www.record-bee.com/

USA – Around $50 million from the California budget will be dedicated to enhanced mutual aid response designed to help California’s firefighting agencies deal with the increased frequency of fires during California’s wildfire season, according to California State Senator Mike McGuire’s office.

“California is facing a new normal – the size and scope of wildland fires are getting worse. Today’s budget deal reinforces the Legislature and Governor’s commitment to taking swift action and ensuring a more proactive and effective mutual aid response system is implemented across our state,” Senator Mike McGuire said. “The safety of our communities depends on it.”

Outside of the $50 million, the state also included $95 million for the purchase of new helicopters to replace CalFire’s current Vietnam-era helicopters; four million to staff and operate the McClellan Airforce Base, and $16 million for CalFire equipment replacement, including fire engines.

The North Bay Legislative Delegation worked with the California Fire Chiefs, the California Professional Firefighters Association, CalFire Firefighters, California Fire Districts Association, California State Fire Fighters Association and other public safety organizations to secure the $50 million. Sen. McGuire said that the money would be dedicated to enhanced mutual aid response, which will help the state’s firefighting agencies to deal with wildfire season.

The North Bay Legislative Delegation also met with CalFire and representatives from the counties of Mendocino, Sonoma, Lake, and Napa, along with the cities of Santa Rosa and Clearlake, to identify areas the money could be used. The funds will be available for projects like removal of dead and dying trees, community fire prevention program funding, vegetation clearance and other activities that reduce the risk of wildfires.

The state has also given around $195 million to Cal Fire’s Forest Health and Fire Prevention Programs, which are designed to reduce the risk of wildfires to forested and forest adjacent communities. Some of the program’s activities include hazardous fuel reduction and removal of dead, dying, or diseased trees, fire prevention planning, and fire prevention education. State Agencies, Native American Tribes, local governments, fire districts, community services districts, water districts, and special districts are all eligible for the CalFire Forest Health and Fire Prevention programs.

“The October 2017 North Bay Firestorm will go down as the most destructive and deadly in modern American history, and it was absolutely critical that the State of California invested in programs to improve resiliency, address the risk of wildfire and reduce wildfire potential in our communities,” Senator Mike McGuire said. “We still have work ahead of us, but these funds will help protect our communities fight California’s New Normal.”

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