California faces an unparalleled risk of catastrophic wildfire in this new climate reality
SACRAMENTO — As part of Governor Gavin Newsom’s key investments to bolster the state’s wildfire response and resilience efforts, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention (CAL FIRE) has announced it will direct nearly $138 million in funding for 105 local fire prevention projects that will help protect communities across California.
“California and the western U.S. are facing an unparalleled risk of catastrophic wildfire in this new climate reality. These grants will further our work to tackle California’s forest health and wildfire crisis, funding community-based projects that build resilience to protect lives and property,” said Governor Newsom.
CAL FIRE’s Fire Prevention Grants enable local organizations such as fire safe councils to implement activities that address the risk of wildfire and reduce wildfire potential for communities. Funded activities include fuel reduction, wildfire planning, and fire prevention education. The projects meet the goals and objectives of the Governor’s Wildfire and Forest Resilience Action Plan, as well as the State’s Strategic Fire Plan.
A full list of the 2021 Fire Prevention Grant recipients can be found here.
Early action funding signed by the Governor in April allocated $123 million for the Fire Prevention Grant Program, which CAL FIRE has worked to implement on the ground as soon as possible. An additional $14.8 million is being reallocated for grants from the Department’s 20-21 budget. Overall, Governor Newsom advanced a $1.5 billion package to build wildfire resiliency in California. The package supports a statewide strategy focused on forest health and wildfire resilience, including investments to advance land and forest management efforts and community hardening, and builds on the Governor’s previous budget investments in emergency management and executive actions to help combat catastrophic wildfires.
Governor Newsom surged CAL FIRE’s firefighting ranks in March by authorizing the early hire of 1,399 additional firefighters and in July supplemented the department’s capacities with 12 additional aircraft. The Governor earlier this year launched an expanded and refocused Wildfire and Forest Resilience Task Force, with federal, local, and tribal leaders, to deliver on key commitments in his Wildfire and Forest Resilience Action Plan. Last year, the Newsom Administration and the USFS announced a shared stewardship agreement under which they are working to treat one million acres of forest and wildland annually to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire.