Governor Gavin Newsom kicked off the first in a series of press events highlighting emergency preparedness during the fire season, signing an executive order announcing a surge in nearly 400 seasonal firefighters to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) for this year’s fire season. The additional firefighters will be placed statewide.
“Climate change has created a new reality in California with catastrophic fires, and there is nothing more critical for my Administration than to ensure we are investing in resources that can help our firefighters and communities prepare and respond to fires and other natural disasters,” said Governor Newsom.
The Governor made the announcement while touring the site of a fuel management project in the Colfax area, which he last visited in January during his first full day in office, and laid out a series of actions to prepare for the risk of wildfires. In March, Governor Newsom also proclaimed a State of Emergency to immediately expedite 35 forest management projects, including the North Fork American River Fuel Break near Colfax, to better protect 200 communities most prone to fire risk.
The additional seasonal firefighters will produce efficiencies in wildland firefighting and enable additional shift rotation. CAL FIRE engine crews also conduct fuels management. In addition to the added seasonal firefighters, the Governor added 13 new fire engines through this fiscal year.
The state budget, passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor last month, invests nearly $1 billion in emergency preparedness, response and recovery to help California communities prepare for disasters.