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Gov. Newsom allocates $80 million in emergency funding ahead of fire season

Gov. Gavin Newsom approved $80.74 million for 1,399 additional firefighters to help to bolster fuels management and wildfire response efforts.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — More than $80 million in emergency funds is being allocated in preparation for fire season in California, the governor’s office announced on Tuesday.

Gov. Gavin Newsom approved $80.74 million for 1,399 additional firefighters to help to bolster fuel management and wildfire response efforts. That number breaks down to 1,256 seasonal firefighters, 119 firefighters to staff Cal Fire’s helicopter attack crews, and 24 seasonal firefighters for California National Guard hand crews, according to a press release.

“We aren’t just waiting for the next crisis to hit – this funding will support our heroic firefighters to save lives as they work to prevent and tackle destructive wildfires,” Newsom said.

The governor’s January 2021 budget proposes $1 billion to support California’s Wildfire and Forest Resilience Action Plan.

According to the California Natural Resources Agency, the plan “sets a broadly supported 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, particularly on state-owned lands.”

Wildfire and Forest Resilience Action Plan aims to reach its goal mostly with regional strategies.

Newsom’s budget also proposes using $143 million of the state’s general fund for 30 new fire crews, and $48 million to continue phasing in the S-70i helicopters and large air tankers, the governor’s office said.

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