CalFire says it’s already responded to 300 wildfires this year, up from the 50 that would be normal for this time in a typical year. Now the agency is asking landowners to clear defensible space around homes months before they normally would.
Dave Zaski with the North Tahoe Fire Department says people need to be extra careful to avoid causing fires.
“We can’t do anything about lightning," he said. "But the most damaging fires are human caused, like the Rim Fire, where they had a camp ground fire when they shouldn’t have had.”
Zaski said the region has already seen a wild land fire on the Nevada side of the lake. He says that’s unusual because the fire was at an elevation of 7,000 feet.
The money would largely focus on forest management projects, such as vegetation thinning. It would also set aside more than $20 million dollars for low-income residents to fireproof their homes.
Wildfires are burning more frequently and intensely in a warming world, making them harder to put out. Some fire agencies are expanding support as they see increased cases of anxiety and depression.
PG&E says it may cut power to around 5,465 customers in Fresno, Kern, Madera, Mariposa, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Tulare counties starting Monday night to try and prevent its equipment from starting wildfires.
California lawmakers are dreaming up big ideas to prevent future wildfires from devastating communities. Bills this session explore banning development in high fire severity zones, making utilities more accountable and a bond for wildfire prevention.
In an attempt to prevent wildfires, the utility is removing vegetation from around power lines. But it’s leaving downed trees on people’s property that are “little fire bombs waiting to ignite,” one expert says.
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