It didn’t take long this year! Really of course, no surprise! California remains in the grip of a catastrophic drought and to that end, has already exhausted its initial firefighting budget just three months into its fiscal year. The state will now shift $70 million from a reserve fund as it enters what is traditionally the worst of its fire season.
The Department of Finance notified legislative budget writers this week that the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has spent the $209 million budgeted this fiscal year to fight wildfires. The administration is transferring the additional money from its $449 million special fund for economic uncertainties.
The move is necessary as California battles one of its worst fire seasons in recent memory. So far this year, the department has responded to nearly 5,000 fires, about 1,200 more than average through the first nine months of the calendar year.
The action comes days after Brown declared emergencies for the fire burning in El Dorado and Placer counties and the fire in Siskiyou County along the Oregon border. It follows declarations for other fires in 11 counties in early August. The worst however may be yet to come, with the first of Southern California’s hot, dry Santa Ana winds expected later this week.