California governor proposes $2 billion in wildfire preparedness spending

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Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday unveiled a revised budget proposal that includes what his office said is record spending for emergency preparation efforts amid another drought and a water crisis at the Oregon border.

With more than 4 million acres burned, California experienced its most destructive fire season last year, but this year is looking like it could be worse, and the state officials are scrambling to replace a shrinking number of inmate hand crews.

Newsom’s response is to “make the single largest investment in wildfire preparedness in our state’s history — $2 billion in emergency preparedness investments,” his office said in a statement after announcing his proposal for the 2021-22 fiscal year that begins July 1.

Kate Dargan, a former fire chief and current chair of the nonprofit California Fire Safe Council, called it “the largest expenditure any state has ever spent on focused wildfire preparedness.”

“It is a game-changing amount of money,” she said.

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