Top 6 Ways California is Preparing for Wildfires
SACRAMENTO – It’s Wildfire Preparedness Week, a time to focus on how to protect yourself from wildfires. Here are the top 6 things Governor Gavin Newsom, the Legislature, and the state have done to protect Californians from wildfires and create more resilient communities:
- RECORD INVESTMENTS: Investing a record $2.7 billion to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires by managing our forests and bolstering manpower.
- MORE FIREFIGHTERS: Added 37 additional fire crews statewide last year, on top of the 16 firefighter crews newly created in 2021. An additional $671.4 million in 2022-23 will add 1,265 new positions and expand fire crews, air attack operations, and provide for additional relief for CAL FIRE staff to meet the demands of wildland firefighting in a changing climate.
- WORLD’S LARGEST AERIAL FLEET: In addition to CAL FIRE’s existing fleet of 62 aircraft, 18 exclusive use helicopters and 6 exclusive use fixed wing aircraft were hired and strategically located throughout the state to provide an even greater response capability. That includes new aircraft for flying night operations and new infrared intelligence aircraft for incident commanders. Last year’s budget provided four additional Fire Hawk helicopters, adding to the 12 Fire Hawks purchased by the state since Governor Newsom was elected in 2018. California is the first state in the nation to fly night firefighting operations, completing the first-ever night-flying operation last year.
- TREATING MORE ACRES: CAL FIRE treated approximately 110,925 acres across more than 600 projects last fiscal year in preparation for wildfire season, exceeding the state’s goal of treating 100,000 acres by 2025. So far during 2022-23, more than 420 fuels reduction projects have been completed – covering 43,065 acres treated.
- DEFENSIBLE SPACE: Committed to educating communities through defensible space inspections, completing nearly 250,000 in 2022, and our grant programs provide millions each year to support local community outreach and education efforts.
- LONG-TERM, SHARED PARTNERSHIP: In August 2020, Governor Newsom signed the Shared Stewardship Agreement with the U.S. Forest Service, mapping out a 20-year, science-based strategy to achieve wildfire resilience and forest health. This commitment included a goal of jointly improving 1 million acres of California’s forest and wildlands annually by 2025.
Having a wet year doesn’t mean that we’re out of the woods when it comes to wildfires. Be aware and stay prepared: go to ReadyforWildfire.org for preparedness tips and ListosCalifornia.org to be disaster ready.