California Plans $536 Million for Forests Before Fire Season – NBC Bay Area

Governor Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders said California would approve $ 536 million in wildfire mitigation and forest management projects before the worst fire season hits later this year.

According to supporters, this was more than double the recent annual spending, and the state’s premature anticipation of a pandemic budget shortage led to a complete withdrawal of wildfire preparedness subsidies last year.

Armed with an unexpected multi-billion dollar surplus, lawmakers plan to add that money to this year’s budget before further consideration in a new spending plan coming into effect on July 1.

“California is also facing a very dry year, so it’s important to get a good start to reduce the risk of fire,” said Newsom, who heads Congress and the Senate, and his fellow Democrats. Said in a statement.

They rush into thin forests, creating fuel breaks around vulnerable communities, allowing for planned burns before the dry winter turns into a dry summer in the crater. Last year’s record wildfire season burned more than 4% of the state, destroyed nearly 10,500 buildings and killed 33 people.

Earlier this month, the governor used his emergency powers to approve about $ 81 million to hire about 1,400 additional firefighters. In January, Newsom proposed spending $ 323 million on forest health and fire protection projects this spring and another $ 1 billion on next year’s budget.

Legislators said Thursday’s agreement would increase short-term and long-term spending on vegetation management on both public and private lands, freeing up space around homes, and vulnerable to wildfires, fire protection grants, and preventive workforce training. He said he would expand the governor’s plan to reduce the number of people. It also includes economic stimulus measures for the damaged forestry economy.

Leaders also recognize that fires can occur not only in forests, but also in grasslands and pastures, so the package contains all types of fire-prone terrain and vegetation, and is a populous area. Includes incentives for preventative efforts to protect.

The new plan is in Congress and the Senate budget and will be considered in the coming days.

Paul Mason, vice president of policy and incentives for Pacific Forest Trust, a non-profit land trust and think tank, said: Promote forest conservation. “It needs to be in the billions.”

In addition to spending part of the budget plunge on fire preparedness, lawmakers should find a stable source of funding for the future.

“It will take years to regain the resilience of California’s forest landscape, just as it took a century to cause the fire problems we have today,” Mason said.

Legislators have already split most of what Newsom said would be a temporary surplus of $ 15 billion in January, most of which are schools and millions of low- to middle-income Californians. Used for state economic stimulus, including a $ 600 payment to.

However, the state expects additional $ 26 billion in federal aid, and there are few restrictions on how it can be used. Mason said the new administration of Democratic President Joe Biden should also invest more in forest projects, given that more than half of California’s forests are owned by the federal government.

State officials said they wanted to get a federal disaster preparedness grant to match the money the state spends to mitigate wildfire vulnerability.

California Plans $536 Million for Forests Before Fire Season – NBC Bay Area Source link California Plans $536 Million for Forests Before Fire Season – NBC Bay Area

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