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Gov. Brown Devotes Nearly $100 Million To Address Wildfire Threats

AP Photo / Rich Pedroncelli

Napa County firefighter Jason Sheumann sprays water on a home as he battles flames from a wildfire Monday, Oct. 9, 2017, in Napa, Calif.

AP Photo / Rich Pedroncelli

Updated 3:25 p.m.

Gov. Jerry Brown issued an executive order Thursday to improve the health of the state's forests.

“I intend to mobilize the resources of the state to protect our forests and ensure they absorb carbon to the maximum degree,” Brown said in a statement.

The order sets aside $96 million in the governor's May budget revision to help protect communities from wildfires. It's in addition to the $160 million in cap-and-trade funds proposed in January.

There's at least 129 million dead trees in the state. Since 2015, more than 1.2 million dead trees have been removed from the state's forests.

The money will be used to to double the land — 250,000 acres to 500,000 acres — actively managed through practices such as forest thinning, controlled fires and tree planting. It would also launch new training programs as well as streamline permitting for landowner projects that improve forest health.

Lastly, it establishes a task force that will implement the order.

State Sen. Hannah Beth Jackson represents the area impacted by the Thomas Fire that burned over 280,000 acres in 2017. She introduced a bill earlier this year that would allow federal, state and private landowners to use prescribed burning as a tool on federal and private land.

She says her bill, along with funds designated by the executive order, will help protect communities from wildfires.

“If we hope to reduce the risk of wildfires in the age of climate change, we must radically shift our forest management practices,” Jackson said in a statement Thursday.

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