The proposed 2010-2011 budget for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, “Cal Fire” has been published. Governor Schwarzenegger was kind to Cal Fire as he has been throughout his two terms. The key to the 2010-2011 budget is the use of funds through the “Emergency Response Initiative”.
From eBudget.ca.gov; The budget includes a reduction of $200 million in General Fund and replacement with revenue generated from a 4.8 percent surcharge on all residential and commercial property insurance statewide.
Beginning in 2011-12, the Emergency Response Initiative will provide funding to enhance the state’s emergency response capabilities, including enhancements for CAL FIRE, the California Emergency Management Agency, the MilitaryDepartment, and assistance to local first response agencies in support of the state’s mutual aid system.
Infrastructure improvement outlays seem extremely generous. No less than 48 infrastructure improvement projects including relocation or replacement of fire stations, regional headquarters, helitack bases and other facilities are budgeted. I can find nothing in the way of station closing or staff reductions. There might be such references in the budget but I did not see it on the first read.
In fact Resource Management (foresters) will will be funded higher in 2010-2011 than last year.
Fire districts around the country and municipalities within California will be envious. Somehow even as California is sinking in red ink the state’s wildland firefighting force escapes unscathed for at least another year.
The one regret, I cannot find a reference to either the DC-10 Supertanker or the Evergreen 747 Supertanker. Surely both will be seen in the sky over the state this Summer.