Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday that he has approved roughly $81 million in emergency funding to support Cal Fire’s hiring of 1,399 new firefighters in anticipation of this year’s fire season.
The $80.74 million will enable Cal Fire to hire 1,256 seasonal firefighters through the end of the fiscal year on June 30.
Those seasonal firefighters will join eight understaffed existing crews and allow Cal Fire to staff 12 new crews as well as six seasonal and six permanent Conservation Corps crews, which assist in mitigating wildland fires.
“In California, climate change is making the hots hotter and the dries drier, leaving us with world record-breaking temperatures and devastating wildfires threatening our communities,” Newsom said in a media release announcing the funding.
The roughly $81 million will also fund the addition of 24 seasonal firefighters for the California National Guard and 119 Cal Fire helicopter crew members
Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, lauded Newsom for the funding in light of the fires that have afflicted the state in recent years, including blazes like the Tubbs, Glass and Atlas fires that burned portions of Napa County.
“If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s the value of prepositioning firefighters and rapid deployment at critical times,” Dodd said. “Already we have made progress, and this investment builds on that success.”