Combating the Wildfire Issue in California needs to be more than just rhetoric. Californians need these efforts to be effective. Our lives and our future depend on it.

As a retired Fire Battalion Chief and firefighter serving in the State of California for 35 years, I have experienced firsthand the dangerous, devastating, and life-altering effects a fire can have on families and businesses in our communities.

The addition of more firefighters to the frontlines is important, as is the addition of valuable aerial firefighting equipment to help with quickly extinguishing fires at their inception. However, having the resources to fight these fires after they start is only part of the solution.

Important prevention efforts are essential but all too often hampered by overbearing State and Federal environmental regulations that have affected our ability to control and reduce the abundance of fuels in a responsible and effective way for decades. Efforts to clear dead brush, thin out overgrown forests, or cut back to provide defensible space around homes and other structures have been slowed or greatly hampered by bureaucratic red tape.

Managing unhealthy forests, overgrown State Resource areas, poorly maintained open space areas around neighborhoods and our urban/wildland interface areas must be a top priority in addressing the continuing and growing threat of wildfire.

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