California is facing the worst wildfire conditions in its history with fewer engines and firefighters than it had 40 years ago, says a group of lawmakers and fire unions asking Gov. Gavin Newsom for an extra $84 million to beef up the state’s fire response.
Cal Fire has 31 fewer engines than it had in 1975 yet it is responsible for more land, provides protection for more cities and faces drier forests and a longer fire season, said Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, one of the lawmakers advocating for more fire money.
It’s “simply not enough,” McGuire said.
He’s urging the governor to put even more money toward hiring firefighters and buying equipment than the proposal Newsom offered when he released his first budget in January. Newsom wants to hire 131 more firefighters and buy 13 new engines at a cost of about $40 million. That would give the department about 6,000 firefighters, according to budget documents.