How California’s investment in wildfire prevention, firefighters contributed to a less severe fire season

NAPA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) — Gov. Gavin Newsom was in Napa County on Thursday to speak about wildfire prevention and highlight investments in stopping fires before they start.

This is what many believe has contributed to a less severe fire season this year.

“We recognize their heroism and all the saves that didn’t make the evening news,” Newsom said.

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Newsom shouted out to the men and women of CAL FIRE who he says have fought more fires this season compared to 2021, about 7,300 fires, but those wildfires have burned far less area statewide. .

“It’s because of the amazing work of the people you see behind me,” Newsom said.

Firefighters told the governor that although California has a year-round fire season, $2.8 billion from the state budget has helped CAL FIRE jump on fires faster and with more resources.

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

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“Fires are growing faster, burning more fiercely. We have increased responses and hope to become the largest firefighting agency in the nation,” said Mike Marcucci, CAL FIRE unit chief.

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

“The goal is one million acres by 2025,” Newsom added.

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

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“These 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 set to continue, the job is far from done, with the next big fire season only months away.

“We are not here with any signs that mission accomplished, but we are here to highlight the work that has been done as we prepare for next year,” Newsom said.

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