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California Governor Gavin Newsom says wildfire investment a 'success'

Governor Gavin Newsom was in the North Bay this week talking about wildfire prevention and highlighting investments in stopping fires before they start.
California Wildfires
Posted at 11:21 AM, Nov 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-20 14:21:08-05

(KERO) — Governor Gavin Newsom was in the North Bay this week talking about wildfire prevention and highlighting investments in stopping fires before they start. It's what many believe may have contributed to a less severe fire season this year.

Newsom gave a shout-out to the men and women of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection who he says battled more fires this season compared to 2021, about 7,300. but those wildfires burned far less acreage statewide.

"That's because of the extraordinary work of the folks you see behind me. Recognizing heroism, hard work, and all the saves which didn't make the nightly news," said Newsom.

Firefighters told Newsom, although fire season is an all-year thing in California, $2.8 billion from the state budget has helped CAL FIRE jump on fires quicker, and with more resources.

New firefighting helicopters capable of carrying more water have been added to CAL FIRE's fleet and last summer the state was able to hire 3,000 seasonal firefighters.

"Fires are growing faster, burning more violent. We've increased responses, and become largest firefighting agency in the nation," said Chief Mike Marcucci of the Sonoma-Lake Unit of CAL FIRE.

Newsom says California is investing in more fire prevention projects like controlled burns.

"The goal is a million acres by 2025."

Napa County leaders praised the work of firefighters and state investments.

"Those investments are working. Our forests are more resilient and our communities are safer," said Napa County Supervisor Alfredo Pedroza.

Newsom says with the state's epic drought expected to continue the work is far from over and the next major fire season is only months away.

"We're not here with any signs saying mission accomplished, but we are here to highlight the work that's been done as we prepare for next year."

According to CAL FIRE More than 362,000 acres have been burned statewide this year alone. That's about 7,300 different fires. Since January 9 people have died in wildfire events and more than 770 buildings have been destroyed.