How CA's investment in wildfire prevention contributed to a less severe fire season

ByCornell Barnard KGO logo
Friday, November 18, 2022
How CA's investment in wildfire prevention impacted this fire season
CAL FIRE says $2.8 billion allocated to wildfire prevention helped their department jump on fire quicker and with more resources this fire season.

NAPA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- Governor Gavin Newsom was in the Napa County Thursday talking about wildfire prevention and highlighting investments in stopping fires before they start.

It's what many believe may have contributed to a less severe fire season this year.

"We're recognizing their heroism and all the saves which didn't make the nightly news," said Newsom.

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Newsom gave a shout-out to the men and women of CAL FIRE who he says, battled more fires this season compared to 2021, about 7,300 blazes, but those wildfires burned far less acreage statewide.

"That's because of the extraordinary work of the folks you see behind me," Newsom said.

Firefighters told the governor although fire season is an all-year thing in California, $2.8 billion from the state budget has helped CAL FIRE jump on fires quicker and with more resources.

New firefighting helicopters capable of carrying more water have been added to CAL FIRE's arsenal and last summer the state was able to hire 3,000 seasonal firefighters.

VIDEO: CAL FIRE shows off new aircraft and technology to battle wildfires

ABC7 has a behind-the-scenes look at the new equipment CAL FIRE is using to battle the flames.

"Fires are growing faster, burning more violently. We've increased responses and hope to become the largest firefighting agency in the nation," said CAL FIRE Unit Chief Mike Marcucci.

Newsom says California is investing in more fire prevention projects like controlled burns.

"The goal is a million acres by 2025," Newsom added.

Napa County leaders praised the work of firefighters and state investments.

VIDEO: Climate expert says California may see more unusual winter wildfires

The Colorado Fire burning between Carmel and Big Sur is giving a climate expert and CAL FIRE insight into what's to come.

"Those investments are working, our forests are more resilient and our communities are safer," said Napa County Supervisor Alfredo Pedroza.

Newsom says with our epic drought expected to continue the work is far from over, the next major fire season is only months away.

"We're not here with any signs saying mission accomplished but we are here to highlight the work that's been done as we prepare for next year," said Newsom.

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