Feds & State Commit $637.6 Billion To Combat Wildfires

Federal and state officials today sojourned to San Bernardino to announce their dual intentions of augmenting efforts to prevent future wildfires and recover from conflagrations that have plagued California in recent years.
Vice President Kamala Harris and California Governor Gavin Newsom along with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack were among the dignitaries at the U.S. Forest Service’s Del Rosa Fire Station located near the doorstep to the San Bernardino National Forest who heralded the federal government’s plans use $600 billion to refurbish communities and land devastated by a rash of fires, including ones in the Golden State that burned just under seven million acres in the last two years, money which is to be matched by $37.6 billion from Sacramento, according to Newsom.
Officials said $3.2 billion of the federal dollars will be used over the next five years for wildfire prevention, $2.4 million for hazardous fuels management and wildfire response planning, $1 billion for wildfire defense grants, $600 million to fix wildfire damage, another $600 million for increasing federal firefighters’ salaries and unspecified amounts for create drought-resistant landscaping, enhancing wildlife habitat and establishing early wildfire detection systems.
Harris referenced California’s firefighters as “heroes,” saying they “serve… with incredible courage and commitment.”
Since the turn of the Third Millennium in 2000, the frequency and intensity of fires in California have escalated on a nearly geometric scale, exacerbated by droughts running from 1999 until 2004, 2006 until 2010, 2011 until 2017, in 2018 and in 2020. According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, 18 of the 20 largest and most intense fires in California’s history occurred between 2000 and 2021, with nine of those in 2020 and 2021.
The selection of Harris to make the announcement of the federal fire relief funding, which is contained within the recently passed $1 trillion-plus infrastructure bill put forth by the Joseph Biden Administration, was an outgrowth of her being a native daughter of California, having previously served in the roles of U.S. Senator and California Attorney General. Vilsack’s Agriculture Department oversees the U.S. Forest Service.

Leave a Reply