After the CZU fire last year, Big Basin State Park will be closed for many years.
Half of Lassen National Volcanic Park has been destroyed by the Dixie fire.
Now, the Kaldor Fire has forced thousands of people to flee and threatens Lake Tahoe, one of California’s most popular treasures.
This raises the question of when the legislature, Congress, and PG&E will seriously allocate the necessary resources to reduce the growing threat of wildfires in California.
From the past three years to today, the governor at the time. As the Carr Fire in Northern California raged, Jerry Brown called the state’s devastating wildfire situation the “new normal”, which eventually destroyed more than 1,000 homes and killed 6 people.
Later that year, the newspaper warned that lawmakers in Sacramento and Washington, DC were not doing enough to combat the additional threats posed by climate change.
Wildfires burned 1.97 million acres of land in 2018, including a campfire triggered by PG&E in 2018, which killed 85 people in Paradise. That was one year after the 2017 wine country fire destroyed Napa and Sonoma counties. 6,562 square miles burned in 2020 are equivalent to the total area of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara and Sonoma counties .
PG&E has withstood the impact of the California wildfire failure for good reason. PG&E is a convicted felon who has caused 111 deaths and destroyed tens of thousands of houses in the past ten years. The utility company stated on July 19 that its equipment may have caused the Dixie Fire, the largest single fire in California’s history, which has burned more than 1,250 square miles and 1,000 buildings.
But the federal government is also to blame. Although the federal government owns 58% of California’s forests, Congress has largely been fiddling with its thumbs. The state only owns 3%. The rest is owned by individuals, companies, and Native American groups.
In 2018, the same year that Brown referred to California’s catastrophic wildfires as the “new normal,” the US Forest Service admitted that 99% of the country’s forest land was at high risk of dangerous wildfires, but it controlled burning to reduce fire risk Only 1% of its land.
The Los Angeles Times reported that when Governor Gavin Newsom met with the governors of other Western states on July 30, he asked President Biden to support the federal government to take more proactive measures. “This is a matter of life and death, and we can no longer put out the fire like 20, 30, 40 years ago,” Newsom said.
At the same time, Congress has yet to pass its infrastructure legislation, which includes $3.3 billion in efforts to reduce the risk of wildfires, including controlling burning and funding fire fighting resources. The bill also allocates US$5 billion for burying electrical wires, and another US$3.5 billion for homeowners to help their houses fire.
Earlier this summer, the governor and the legislature agreed to restore $500 million to prevent wildfires that were removed from the state budget, but the state’s funding is still insufficient to meet prevention needs.
Since 2018, Californians have suffered billions in property damage, and nearly 200 people and more than 50,000 buildings have been killed in wildfires. Their health is also impaired by breathing the smoky air. Climate change is increasing the risk of wildfires, but more can be done to reduce the threats to our homes, forests and our scenic treasures.