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CA allocates more money for firefighting, what that means for SLO County

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Posted at 10:57 PM, Mar 31, 2021

Fire season is now a year-round threat in California, but are there enough state resources to combat the growing dangers?

Last summer we saw several fast-moving wildfires on the Central Coast and this year could possibly be worse.

"With as little precipitation as we've had, we are fully expecting to have a busy summer," Public Information Officer for CAL FIRE SLO, Adan Orozco, said.

The threat of wildfires in California have become more and more persistent and now the state is making firefighting a priority.

This week, Gov. Newsom allocated $80.74 million dollars in firefighting support.

"With the additional funding, we're going to be able to add additional seasonal firefighters to our fuels reduction crews as well as staff more firefighters on our fire engines. We're also going to staff 12 additional firefighters on our California National Guard crews," Orozco said.

More seasonal firefighters means more fully staffed engines for CAL FIRE SLO.

"Those additional firefighters will help bring us to max staffing levels. As far as equipment goes, when they add additional funding to the fuels program, that will help purchase equipment and tools needed such as wood-chippers, chainsaws, and things like that,"Orozco said.

At a national level, California U.S. Senators are among several stakeholders asking the Agriculture and Interior departments to transition their agencies, which include the U.S. Forest Service, to a year-round wildland workforce to keep up with the year-round threat.

"Increasing wages, having a full-time position would absolutely be a driving factor in people wanting to come into the fire service and want to pursue this as a career long term," Orozco said.

We reached out to the Public Information Officer for the Los Padres National Forest who says the U.S. Forest Service does not comment on pending legislation.

Fire officials are reminding everyone: it's important to take time now to prepare yourself and your home for a wildfire. You can click here for readiness tips.