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Newsom Says CAL Fire Beefing Up Staffing For Peak Season

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Sacramento, CA — California has seen more fires than average during the first six months of the year, totaling over 4,100.

Governor Gavin Newsom says that thankfully most have been relatively small to this point, held to a couple of acres. However, there is fear that this could change over the next few months as the state enters the “peak season.”

At this point last year there were around 2,500 wildfires to date.

Newsom says 858 additional firefighters will be hired, along with six California Conservation Corps. crews, through the month of October. It is partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the additional staff that could be required for new safety measures, and during evacuations.

CAL FIRE has adjusted firefighting operations to mitigate the spread of the virus within its own crews by holding virtual briefings and keeping non-essential base camp staff off-site.

Newsom adds, “California is better prepared against the threat of wildfire today than at any time in our history. Even in a challenging budget climate, we have undertaken major action and made significant investments to fortify our state and help fight increasingly severe wildfires.”

CAL Fire Chief Thom Porter adds, “Wildfire season this year carries an extra layer of danger as the state responds to the spread of fires and the ongoing heath pandemic. It is of the utmost importance that we keep our crews healthy so they can continue their work and that we adjust evacuation and shelter plans to protect communities from the spread of COVID-19.”

All new sheltering protocols require:

·         Health screening on entry

·         Dedicated cleaning staff at all sites

·         Pre-packaged meals

·         Medical and mental health professionals on site