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CAL FIRE Starts Staffing Up For Fire Season

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The aftermath of the Butte Fire, which struck Northern California in the summer of 2015.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

CAL FIRE is hiring its first batch of seasonal firefighters, but most are working to prevent fires rather than fight them thanks to all the rainfall this winter and spring.

“This time last year, we’d brought on extra fire fighters, unfortunately, to actually start fighting fires, as we did not see as much rain,“ CAL FIRE’s Lynne Tolmachoff says. “This year, we’ve brought them on and they’ve been able to do work in preparation for the upcoming fire season.”

That includes cutting down dead trees and helping create defensible space.

CAL FIRE has brought about 400 seasonal fire fighters on board this month — compared to well over 1,000 at this time last year. Tolmachoff also says the state was able to begin hiring two months later than last year thanks to the wet winter.

Tolmachoff says the state is using emergency drought funding to pay for the fire fighters.

Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio