Local fire agencies in California are asking state lawmakers for more money to keep pace with longer, more devastating fire seasons.
At a hearing at the state Capitol on Tuesday, local fire agencies petitioned lawmakers for $100 million, after last year’s fire season extended into December and spawned five of the most destructive wildfires in state history.
“How long are we going to call these fires unprecedented, when we continue to have them year after year after year?” said Jeff Carman, president of the California Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association. “Soon they should become the norm.”
Local fire agencies say more funding would allow them to move staff and engines to areas experiencing fire conditions, before they alight. They currently lend each other resources under a 50-year-old mutual aid system. The testimony comes as lawmakers develop budget proposals for the next fiscal year.