California Governor Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders have announced on April 8 a new $536 million plan that would boost efforts on wildfire prevention.
Over $350 million will be spent to enhance a variety of prevention measures, including vegetation and terrain management on both public and private lands across the state.
The package also includes $25 million for the fortification and construction of fire-resistant structures.
“The package will fund forest management projects to reduce catastrophic wildfire risk and restore the ecological health of forests, fuel breaks around vulnerable communities to protect residents and property, and community hardening infrastructure to mitigate wildfire damage,” Newsom said in a statement.
“More suppression strategies, more prevention strategies, more regional, long-term, medium-term strategies,” Newsom said at a press conference in Fresno County.
“And a greater sense of urgency than ever in contemporary California history,” Newsom added.
A total of $125 million of the package will be used from the state’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Funds while the remaining $411 million will be from the state’s general fund.
Senator Toni Atkins hailed the package as “an investment that is needed now more than ever.”
“For every dollar we spend on wildfire prevention, our state saves $6 to $7 in damage. But it’s not just about saving money — this is about saving Californians’ lives, their homes, and their livelihoods,” Atkins said in a statement.
California Natural Resources Agency stated in a tweet that they “appreciate” the commitment of the lawmakers to reduce wildfire risk through the package.
“Early action will save lives and homes,” the agency said.
Last year, California witnessed one of its worst wildfire seasons, with the largest single wildfire in the state’s history, burning through the Sierra Nevada in Fresno and Madera counties.
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