California Gov. Newsom announces new executive actions on wildfire preparedness, addresses PG&E

ByLeslie Brinkley KGO logo
Wednesday, January 9, 2019
California Governor Gavin Newsom working on PG&E wildfire crisis
California's new governor said he was on the phone the morning after his inauguration to deal with the PG&E crisis.

COLFAX, Calif. (KGO) -- Governor Gavin Newsom appeared in Colfax today with state fire and emergency response agencies to talk about new priorities. The new California governor said he was on the phone Tuesday morning first thing to deal with the PG&E crisis.

He plans to amp up fire protection strategies but addressed PG&E by saying, "I try to be objective about these things as much as I can. My role for the state of California is to protect your interests and not PG&E 's, interest but sometimes those interests align and that's where it gets complicated."

RELATED: Most destructive California wildfires in history: Camp Fire tops the list

The governor said he's having long honest cell phone conversations with PG&E executives as he talks with the PUC and finalizes the names of the three commissioners he'll soon be appointing to come up with quick recommendations.

The governor's main focus at the press conference was to outline that his new budget will add $305 million to fire mitigation efforts including over $200 million directed at cutting brush and creating fire breaks across the state. He plans to bring on board 13 new engines to be pre-deployed during fire season along with 100 new infrared cameras and retrofitting more Blackhawk helicopters and C130s for fire suppression.

Cal Fire Chief Thom Porter said, "The Camp Fire really was a test last year that traditional methods we've used are not working."

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