NAPA, Calif. (KRON) — Governor Gavin Newsom was in Napa Thursday. He was visiting the city’s firefighters and highlighting the state’s efforts to keep wildfires contained this year.
In the last two years, $2.8 billion has been spent in California to fight and prevent wildfires. That money is used to buy equipment such as helicopters.
When Newsom arrived at the Napa Fire Department Thursday, he shook the hands of men and women in uniform. He thanked them for their work this year to keep residents and homes safe from wildfires.
“For all the folks out there that wear a number of different uniforms. Sometimes they are out there holding the lines, sometimes they are out there literally drawing and building new lines,” Newsom said.
Newsom says California has budgeted to add more than 1,300 fire personnel, helping to operate the 356 fire engines in the state. Mike Marcucci is the Unit Chief for the Sonoma-Lake-Napa Cal Fire Unit, and he says additional recourses have made a difference in the North Bay.
“The acreage burned has been reduced significantly from an average of over 200,000 acres a year over the last six years to just over 1,800 acres this year,” Marcucci said.
The largest wildfire this year in Napa County was the Old Fire that burned just over 600 acres in June. The majority of wildfires are caused by human error.
Director and Fire Chief of Cal Fire Joe Tyler says that is a fact that’s not taken lightly by his agency.
“In 2022 so far, 151 arrests have been made of arsonists across California, and I’m confident that these arrests have reduced wildfire threats and damage to our local community,” Tyler said.
KRON On is streaming live news now
While the time of year when wildfires are at their worst is behind us, Governor Newsom and Cal Fire agree that it’s not the time to wait for the next one.
“Folks that would otherwise be out there fighting fires, we’re out there preparing to mitigate fires next year by working actively on forest management projects,” Newsom said.
Governor Newsom says the federal government plans to partner with the state to more than double active forest management. The goal is one million acres by 2025.