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Jun 24, 2021

CPF President Praises Newsom Commitment to Wildfire Response and Prevention

Statement from Brian K. Rice, President of California Professional Firefighters, on Governor Gavin Newsom’s Commitment to Wildfire Prevention, Suppression and Mitigation

In the last five years, wildfires have burned over 8 million acres, destroyed thousands of homes, and claimed the lives of over 100 people. This is a crisis and Governor Gavin Newsom understands, better than anyone, the gravity of the crisis. He has made wildfire response, prevention and mitigation a priority of his administration since day one.

As governor, he has done more to address the wildfire threat than any other. Since his first year in office, Governor Newsom has:

  • Made and continues to make significant investments to add new firefighters, engines and equipment to a historically understaffed CAL FIRE.
  • Made permanent investments in mutual aid for pre-positioning of resources during increased fire weather.
  • Invested in a modern air fleet for wildfire air operations, replacing Vietnam war era helicopters that were nowhere near up to the task to help fight the megafires we have today. Provided funding to phase in 7 C-130H air tankers.
  • Brokered an unprecedented, shared stewardship agreement with the U.S. Forest Service, under the Trump administration, agreeing to match California’s goal of reducing wildfire risk on 500,000 acres of land.
  • In his latest budget, made the single largest investment in history with $2 billion to help fight and combat wildfires.

No other governor has done more to address wildfires and make the needed investments than Gavin Newsom.

Like wildfires themselves, prevention is complex. It is not about the number of acres treated but number of people, communities and properties that are protected. Gov. Newsom has proven throughout his time in office that solving California's wildfire problem in the short and long term is the highest priority. 

As an all-risk fire department, in the middle of a global pandemic and a historic 2020 wildfire season, the men and women of CAL FIRE have shouldered a heavy burden and stepped up to heroically defend life and property. Difficult decisions were made to allocate limited resources to address emergencies across the state. It’s not appropriate to mischaracterize their work in what was an unprecedented 2020, or the investments that the governor has made to address the wildfire threat.

With the governor’s continued prioritization and investments, we are finally building a foundation to combat and prevent wildfires, which is what California firefighters have been advocating for.

California Professional Firefighters is the largest firefighter organization in the state, representing more than 30,000 front line firefighters in nearly 180 local affiliated unions. CPF is the State Council for the International Association of Fire Fighters, which represents some 300,000 professional firefighters nationwide.