CSAC Bulletin Article

Governor Announces Early-Action Firefighting Support for 2021

April 1, 2021

Governor Newsom has tapped the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFIRE) Emergency Fund to authorize $80.74 million to accelerate action on emerging fire season dangers.These actions align with the Governor’s recently publishedWildfire and Forest Resilience Action Plan and early action budget proposals.

This Emergency Fund authorization includes a surge of 1,256 seasonal firefighters through June 30, 2021. The funding will provide fire crew and fire engine staffing, augments eight currently understaffed, existing fire crews ahead of the summer, and allows the early hiring and training of fire crews for fuels management to provide 12 new CAL FIRE crews, and six seasonal and six new permanent Conservation Corps crews.

Further, the state will onboard 24 seasonal firefighters for California National Guard hand crews who support CAL FIRE’s fuels management work. The funding will also provide 119 firefighters to staff CAL FIRE helitack crews earlier in the year, allowing them time to train and be operationally ready by May 2021. This includes the orientation and operations of the new S-70i helicopter to operate from four CAL FIRE helitack bases. Improved technology to support incident base camp operations, including website traffic management, will also serve to improve transparency and information accuracy for the public.

CSAC has supported early action funding that aligns with the Wildfire and Forest Resilience Action Plan. The plan follows several years of work with county government leaders under the Forest Management Task Force. The plan sets forth a strategy to increase the pace and scale of forest and wildland management to meet the state’s target of completing projects on 500,000 acres annually by 2025 and expanding the use of prescribed fire. The plan calls for achieving these goals largely through regional strategies tailored to the environmental conditions, risks, and priorities in each area.

For more information, please contact Catherine Freeman, CSAC Legislative Representative at cfreeman@counties.org.


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