As part of Governor Gavin Newsom’s investments in emergency preparedness and wildfire response, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention (CAL FIRE) secured 12 additional firefighting aircraft this week for exclusive use in its statewide response efforts. Within hours of securing these critical resources, nine of the 12 aircraft were immediately dispatched to new and emerging fires.
“Climate change is the driving force behind the extreme weather we see across the globe — creating hotter, drier conditions in Western States and contributing to unparalleled risk of catastrophic wildfire,” said Newsom. “Our investments in state-of-the-art firefighting technology and equipment, along with a focus on building resilience through fuel breaks, forest health projects and home hardening will ensure California is more prepared than ever to face an increasingly severe wildfire season.”
Governor Newsom’s California Comeback Plan invests over $2 billion to combat and prepare for wildfires and advance emergency response, the largest investment in our state’s history. It also includes $5.1 billion over four years for immediate drought response and long-term water resilience.
The new aircraft bring Cal Fire’s aerial fleet to more than 60 fixed and rotary wing aircraft, augmenting what is already the largest civil aerial firefighting fleet in the world. The 12 additional firefighting aircraft join Cal Fire’s world-renowned aviation program, which responds to thousands of wildland fires throughout California each year.
Since taking office, Governor Newsom has increased fire prevention and response resources – Cal Fire now has over 9,200 personnel, including 356 State Fire Engines, making it the second-largest fire department in the nation.