CA, Trump administration agree to move forward with fire assistance agreement

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SACRAMENTO (KRON) — Two months into fire season and the U.S. Forest Service and California Emergency Management officials agreed this week to move forward with the California Fire Assistance Agreement.

The contract has been in effect for decades, and requires the federal government to reimburse California Fire Departments when they fight fire on U.S. property.

The agreement was in question earlier this year as the U.S. Forest Service wanted to change the billing process, claiming California was overcharging for services.

State officials have said the department owed California about $9.3 million dollars for the 2018 fire season.

Moving forward into this fire season, the two agreed to keep billing the same, but a U.S. Forest Service administrator will be embedded with Cal OES to help with initial review of some invoices.

In a letter to the California Fire Service, the directors of Cal OES and Cal Fire wrote in part, “we look forward to our one team, one fight effort.”

Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement, “We thank our federal colleagues for continuing to productively partner with the California to maintain a robust mutual aid system to protect life and property against the growing threat of wildfires and other natural disasters,” he said.

State emergency management officials say they’re grateful to have this sorted out as they enter what looks to be another challenging fire season.

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