Governor Newsom, Legislative Leaders Announce Early Budget Action for Wildfire Prevention

SACRAMENTO– Governor Gavin Newsom, Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) today announced a $536 million funding plan to help improve California’s resilience to wildfires. They released the following statement:

“With California facing another extremely dry year, it is critical that we get a head start on reducing our fire risk. We are doing that by investing more than half a billion dollars on projects and programs that provide improved fire prevention for all parts of California.

“Key parts of the Administration’s initial proposal have been supplemented by legislative ideas that will pay dividends over the years, such as greater investments in forest health projects, improvements on defensible space, home hardening against fires, fire prevention grants, and prevention workforce training. The plan includes public and private lands vegetation management, community-focused efforts for prevention and resilience and economic stimulus for the forestry economy.

“Because we know that California’s fires are not limited to forested lands, we have built in attention to all kinds of vulnerable terrain and vegetation, with incentives for prevention that protects larger numbers of residents.

“The $536 million funding packaging includes $125 million from Greenhouse Gas Reduction Funds and $411 million from the General Fund. We also hope to draw federal disaster prevention grants to match money spent on home hardening.

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement to get California quickly on the road to strong wildfire prevention, but we know more work is needed. This plan could not have been developed without the hard work of Assemblymembers Richard Bloom and Phil Ting, and Senators Bob Wieckowski, Susan Rubio, and Mike McGuire, among others. We anticipate additional benefits from discussions on the 2021-2022 budget.”

Details on this funding package can be found in SB 85 and AB 79.