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Sunday, August 7, 2022

CAL FIRE reports being ready to tackle this summer's wildfires

CAL FIRE

In preparation for the upcoming forest fire season, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection CAL FIRE completed the transition to full staffing statewide and continues to report progress on key fuels reduction and forest health projects.

Maximum staffing ensures that all CAL FIRE stations are open and staffed 24 hours a day; response capabilities are enhanced; all aircraft are pre-positioned and staffed with trained individuals; and crews are trained and employed.

Based on current estimates, CAL FIRE has managed to treat 110,925 acres in preparation for the upcoming wildfire season, which exceeds its goal of 100,000 acres by 2025.

"While conditions have varied geographically across the state, weather conditions, fuel loads and the number of fire incidents have guided the Department's comprehensive response and overall preparedness for the summer months," said Joe Tyler, CAL FIRE director and fire chief. 

He added that even as preparations increase for wildfires that now occur year-round, forest health and fire prevention projects continue to accelerate across the state, launching more than 603 resiliency projects.

"California is taking aggressive steps to protect communities and make our forests more resilient," said Governor Gavin Newsom, who added that in addition to fire suppression efforts, the state is focused on increasing investments and working to meet the challenge head-on.

Early augmentation funding, approved in collaboration with the Legislature last year, has allowed CAL FIRE to staff 136 locomotives in the northern region - an increase of 64 - and 126 more in the southern region, an increase of 16.

In addition, it has 12 dedicated aircraft available statewide today, with an additional four by July 1, adding to CAL FIRE's existing air fleet of more than 62 aircraft, and 16 additional hand crews are operational as a result of the increased fire prevention and emergency response budget.

Meanwhile, data that has been validated so far shows that CAL FIRE and grantees have conducted fuels treatment and fire prevention work on more than 110,900 acres in FY 2020-2021, exceeding their 2025 goal of 100,000 acres ahead of schedule.

CAL FIRE is not alone in this effort; it is one of 22 state departments implementing California's $1.5 billion wildfire resiliency program. 

Through June 2022, in less than a year, the program has already committed 1.1 billion and launched more than 833 projects, which includes CAL FIRE projects and funding. 

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