Agencies Announce $70 Million in New Investments
CALABASAS – At its first meeting in Southern California, the Governor’s Wildfire and Forest Resilience Task Force met today with local leaders across the region to discuss their top issues and priorities, and to showcase $70 million in new investments to support regional landscape and community protection programs. The new funding supplements state and federal investments of more than $500 million in Southern California during the last three years.
“Governor Newsom and our Legislature have invested almost $3 billion to take proactive, upfront actions to reduce catastrophic wildfire risks, protect communities, and restore the health of our landscapes,” said California Natural Resources Secretary and Task Force Co-Chair Wade Crowfoot. “Our job on the Task force is to make sure this funding translates to fire-prepared communities, and safe and healthy landscapes. This meeting in Southern California is hugely important. It helps us understand the unique wildfire threats in this region and how we can best support local leaders and the projects that will make a difference building our resilience to wildfires.”
Today’s announcement included the following investments:
- Approximately $30 million through a new partnership between the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the National Forest Foundation
- $20 million from the California Department of Conservation’s Regional Fire and Forest Capacity Program
- $10 million from the USFS Wildfire Crisis Strategy
- $10 million from CAL FIRE’s Forest Health Grant Program
The meeting also focused on the unique challenges in balancing the protection of the region’s forests and shrublands with community protection from the increased threat of wildfires. The region’s top scientists and agency leaders all emphasized the value of protecting the region’s diverse ecosystems, and how home hardening, defensible space, and strategically placed fuel breaks can better protect southern California communities from wildfire.
“To address the wildfire crisis in California, we need to increase our collaboration in making investments that reduce risk to ecosystems, communities and critical infrastructure," said Jennifer Eberlien, Regional Forester, USFS-Pacific Southwest Region. “Through the Wildfire Crisis Strategy, the Forest Service has identified Southern California as one of our top priorities in the nation, and we intend to work with a broad range of partners to leverage our investments and address the region’s most critical needs. Our new large-scale partnership with the National Forest Foundation is a perfect example of this new approach.”
The Task Force was established by Governor Newsom in 2021 to align federal, state, local, tribal, and private efforts to improve the health and resilience of the state’s forests and wildlands, and to strengthen the resilience of communities increasingly threatened by wildfire. The meeting was the first to take place in Southern California, and to highlight the collaborative efforts of the agencies and local communities throughout the region.
“We’ve never seen this many regional leaders in one place,” said Task Force Director Patrick Wright. “It demonstrates their commitment to work together, and how we are increasingly focusing our state and federal investments on supporting their collaborative efforts.”