Sacramento, CA — California has been increasingly trying to go after people that are responsible for starting large wildfires.
The person who starts a fire is liable to pay for some of the suppression costs, under state law. The Associated Press reports that over the last eight years, the state has aggressively gone after businesses and individuals that have sparked a wildfire. The Sacramento Bee found that from 2001-03, the state recovered about $2 million annually, but in the last couple of years, the number has been up to around $35 million.
Governor Jerry Brown is now trying to up the efforts, by increasing the staff of the state’s Civil Cost Recovery Program from the current 14, up to 24. The proposal is drawing both praise and criticism in Sacramento. Some rural lawmakers are arguing that the state is trying to go too far, while others say that people or businesses responsible, should be held accountable.