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California passes new program that may speed up efforts to prevent wildfires

Posted at 6:45 PM, Jan 03, 2020

California has approved a new program that aims at cutting down the spread of wildfires.

The California Vegetation Treatment program will help speed up the permit process for tree trimming and thinning projects.

This is in an effort to reduce the risk and spread of wildfires and some crews are already working on projects at San Simeon State Park.

"We're getting all of the fuel out of the air, so it can't create any crown fires, getting it down on the ground and then we're making burn piles, so that there's controlled burns for firefighters to come and burn them," said Larissa Hepburn, California Conservation Corps.

As crews work to clear brush and dying trees, California is making it easier for them to do so.

The new state permit process makes for a more consistent and quicker process in approving tree trimming projects.

"If you can speed up the paperwork and planning process, then we can get to the more important part more quickly," said Alan Peters, Cal Fire San Luis Obispo Chief.

The state is hoping that the California Vegetation Treatment Program will allow for 500,000 non-federal acres to be treated for fuel and restoration projects.

Up from 33,000 acres in 2019.

Members of the California Conservation Corps say they're focused on making a difference by helping reduce the spread of a potential wildfire.

"Helps take away some of the fuels, so that it's easier to go into the spots that are really burning. Less fuel means less for there to catch on fire," said Ben Manning, California Conservation Corps.

"I honestly feel like I'm a real superhero, making a difference out there," said Daniel Moran, California Conservation Corps.

The federal government is also trying to match the state's goal of treating 500,000 acres annually.