Sacramento – CAL FIRE announced $73 million in forest health grants today at the inaugural meeting of Governor Newsom’s newly expanded Wildfire and Forest Resilience Task Force. The announcement came just one month after the Governor signed a $536 million early action budget package to accelerate forest health and fire prevention investments throughout the state.
“Governor Newsom has made it clear that we need to double-down on our efforts to protect California communities and natural places from catastrophic wildfire. These actions represent progress doing just that,” said California Secretary for Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot, who co-chaired the meeting with U.S. Forest Service Regional Forester Randy Moore.
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) announced the launch of California Smoke Spotter, a first-of-its-kind mobile application designed to help Californians plan for prescribed fires and prepare for potential smoke impacts. California Smoke Spotter will provide users with the latest available information on prescribed fires, a 24-hour smoke forecast, current air quality and educational material. The app, which will be available for download within the next week, also allows users to set up personalized alerts to track the progress of prescribed fires.
“We want all Californians to be more aware of prescribed fires and smoke levels near their communities,” said California Secretary for Environmental Protection Jared Blumenfeld, who serves on the Task Force Executive Committee. “Prescribed fires are a key strategy to improve community resilience, increase biodiversity and forest health, and reduce the potential for catastrophic fires, and this new app will give all residents a powerful new tool to track their progress and plan accordingly.”
Governor Newsom relaunched the Task Force in April to deliver on the key commitments in the Wildfire and Forest Resilience Action Plan (Action Plan), which was issued in January to provide a comprehensive framework for the state’s forest health and fire prevention programs. The Action Plan is a broadly supported strategy to reduce wildfire risk for vulnerable communities, improve the health of forests and wildlands, and accelerate action to combat climate change.
The Executive Committee of the newly expanded Task Force also includes Governor’s Office of Planning and Research Director Kate Gordon, CAL FIRE Director Thom Porter, California State Association of Counties President James Gore, Rural Counties Representatives of California (RCRC) Chair Stacy Corless, and Don Hankins of the Inter-tribal Indigenous Stewardship Project.
“The Forest Service stands ready with our wildland management partners to address actionable forest health issues like excessive fuels, high severity acreage, and climate change factors across California both in 2021 and beyond,” said Regional Forester Randy Moore, USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region. “The multi-agency Task Force is one additional, united step that we are all taking to keep residents safe across California’s hotter and drier landscape.”