Governor and Legislative Leaders Strike Deal on $536m Wildfire Preparedness Package

Governor Gavin Newsom, Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins, and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon on Thursday announced an agreement reached to provide $536 million in funding to help improve California’s preparedness for and resilience to wildfires. The package consists of investments in forest health, improvements on defensible space, home hardening, fire prevention grants, and prevention workforce training.

The investment additionally includes public and private lands vegetation management, community-focused efforts for prevention and resilience, and economic stimulus for the forestry economy. Of the total amount, $125 million will be provided from Greenhouse Gas Reduction Funds and $411 million will be provided from the General Fund. Legislators hope to draw federal disaster prevention grants to match funds spent on home hardening efforts.

The Governor highlighted the agreement reached with legislative leaders during a Thursday tour of a wildfire fuel break in Fresno County. The agreement builds on $323 million in early action funding for wildfire prevention efforts included in the Governor’s proposed 2021-22 budget.

The Governor additionally announced that he is expanding and refocusing the Forest Management Task Force to enact commitments detailed in the Wildfire and Forest Resilience Action Plan issued in January 2021. The task force will be co-chaired by California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot and U.S. Forest Service Regional Forester Randy Moore. The task force will also include CalEPA Secretary Jared Blumenfeld, Governor’s Office of Planning and Research Director Kate Gordon, CAL FIRE Director Thom Porter, CSAC President James Gore, RCRC Chair Stacy Corless, and Dan Hankins of the Inter-Tribal Indigenous Stewardship Project. Patrick Wright, Director of the Tahoe Conservancy, was appointed director of the Wildfire and Forest Resilience Task Force.

Additional information on the Governor’s wildfire-related announcements are available here.