Five of the twenty largest wildfires in California history were part of the 2020 wildfire season.
(CBS13/AP) California is in a race so desperate that in the face of another devastating wildfire season, authorities began seeking local project ideas before they had funds to pay for them.
Such is the prospect of drought, the governor said on Tuesday he had drawn up executive orders for signing as required.
In normal years, the worst fires do not start until late summer or autumn, so that between then and around May there remains a window of opportunity for sparse forests, clear buffer zones to slow the spread of fires near communities, and an increase in the state’s seasonal fire service.
A dry winter is also already compounding on a drier summer that has caused twice the number of wildfires this time last year, Gavin Newsom said.
As a result, lawmakers have pushed ahead with Newsom’s 1 billion-dollar infusion for fire safety projects during the budget year which begins in July.
It includes almost $200 million for construction of fuel zones near vulnerable communities and $283 million for forest management.
He voted in favour of financing but said much more money should go to forest management.
The money is almost seven times as much as budgeted for keeping wildfires at bay in this year’s budget, said Democratic Representative Richard Bloom, who was involved in negotiating the funding package negotiated by leading Democrats.