NewsCovering California


Governor Newsom and state's top officials join for wildfire briefing

Posted at 2:09 PM, Aug 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-21 17:09:40-04

Governor Gavin Newsom joined a local briefing Friday with the state’s top fire and emergency management officials and emergency responders battling wildfires across Northern California.

Big statements were made by the Governor and local authorities alike. Newsom stated California is experiencing some of the hottest temperatures ever recorded in human history, and Southern California experiencing "arguably, still an open question, maybe the hottest modern recorded temperature in the history of the world". While Assembly Member Jim Wood said these fires in Sonoma County area are burning in areas that have not burned in decades.

Cal Fire kicked off the meeting going over the wildfires all over the state. Currently, 12,000 firefighters are fighting nearly 2 dozen fires, and with the lightning siege bringing nearly 12,000 strikes, those fires have burned over 771,000 acres, which is greater than the size of the state Rhode Island.

Every state and local authority at the meeting stated the importance of listening to evacuation orders and warnings. Thursday, in Napa County 3 civilian lives were lost as well as one in Solano County. The Napa County Sheriff urges people to follow the agencies on social media and head warnings as they come out, and that if you hear the high-low sirens it's time to go.

Moving forward, Cal Fire's Incident commander spoke on evacuations as well as re-population, getting people back into their homes. While some evacuation orders have been lifted, others are being implemented, it depends on different fire behavior and level of containment. He said it takes a large cooperative effort, but that getting people back home is a priority.

Governor Newsom shared that as of Friday there are a total of 565 active fires in the state. He explained that with the progress being made with Southern California fires they have been able to pull resources to Northern California like the LMU complex fire.

He expressed his gratitude to those on the front lines, those helping the front line workers, and the partnership with FEMA that has secured 5 FMAG grants for the state. According to the Governor, 96% of state fire engines are committed, and California has received additional aid from other Western states, with calls and requests to East states in action. However, there is worry being expressed from other state Governors about the issues that come with sharing resources with the current pandemic.

Questions regarding the Governor's relationship with the president also arouse at the briefing. Newsom shared that their private working relationship is a productive one.