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SLO County to hire 24 additional seasonal firefighters under new state funding

Posted: 7:33 PM, Jul 31, 2019
Updated: 2019-08-01 10:08:01-04

As the temperatures heat up, so do the concerns about wildfires. On Wednesday, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order to allow CAL FIRE to hire nearly 400 additional seasonal firefighters statewide.

CAL FIRE SLO says 24 of those firefighters will be placed in San Luis Obispo County.

Fire Chief Scott Jalbert tells KSBY News twelve of those additional seasonal firefighters will be placed on state funded engines throughout the county. Those engines are each currently staffed with three assigned firefighters. With the additional funding, each crew will now have four firefighters.

The other twelve firefighters will be utilized by CAL FIRE in San Luis Obispo County to train National Guard crews who are called in to assist fire fighting efforts each year, according to Jalbert.

<figcaption class="wp-caption-text" id="caption-attachment-208708">CAL FIRE responds to a vegetation fire in Paso Robles on June 8. KSBY Photo

Newsom made the announcement while touring a fuel management project in the Colfax are a on Wednesday.

“Climate change has created a new reality in California with catastrophic fires, and there is nothing more critical for my Administration than to ensure we are investing in resources that can help our firefighters and communities prepare and respond to fires and other natural disasters,” Newsom said.

The state budget, passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor last month, invests nearly $1 billion in emergency preparedness, response and recovery to help California communities prepare for disasters.

The additional resources are only guaranteed for this fire season under the emergency declaration.

Governor Newsom declared a State of Emergency in California in March due to increased wildfire threat.

In 2017 and 2018, California experienced the deadliest and most destructive wildfires in state history.