Governor Newsom and CAL FIRE announce the end of peak wildfire season for most of California

CAL FIRE has completed more than 20,000 acres of prevention and mitigation projects in the past two months

Under the Newsom administration, California has invested record amounts in wildfire-fighting and resilience projects

B-ROLL: CAL FIRE 2022 controls burns and brush cleaning

NAPA – Today Gov. Gavin Newsom and state fire officials at a Napa fire station announced the end of peak fire season in most areas of California while also highlighting CAL FIRE’s early work in preparation for next year’s wildfire season. The state remains prepared to respond to wildfires across the state. Just yesterday, Los Angeles and Ventura Counties were under Red Flag Warnings, underscoring how California’s wildfire season is year-round.

A combination of large government investments led by the governor and legislature, highly cooperative weather, and the actions of firefighters at the state, local and federal levels resulted in a significantly less severe wildfire season, giving CAL FIRE a head start on prevention projects leading up to next Year. CAL FIRE has completed more than 20,000 acres of prevention and mitigation projects like mandatory burns in the last two months alone, compared to lower amounts in recent years when firefighters fought wildfires instead.

“There is no better illustration of how volatile fire seasons can be than during my first term as governor — two of the most destructive wildfire seasons in recorded history and two of the least destructive in a decade,” Governor Newsom said. “That’s why we’ve made record investments in fighting wildfires and treating more acres than ever before so we can protect lives and save homes. While we have reached the end of main fire season in a better position than in recent years, California wildfire season is year-round and we remain vigilant and focused on protecting lives and livelihoods.”

Gov. Newsom and state fire department officials announced the end of peak fire season in most areas of California at a Napa fire station

On his first full day in office in January 2019, Governor Newsom focused on wildfire resilience and preparedness and signed two executive orders aimed at protecting Californians from the growing threat of wildfires and other natural disasters.

In the last two years alone, the state has committed a record $2.8 billion to wildfire resilience under the California Climate Commitment. These investments to restore forest health are guided by the Governor’s 99-point Action Plan on Wildfires and Forest Resilience. The exponential increase in funding has launched more than 552 wildfire resilience projects in less than a year. CAL FIRE has also met its 2025 goal of treating 100,000 acres per year, a full three years ahead of plan. Since fiscal 2019-20, treatment work has increased significantly and CAL FIRE has treated an average of 100,000 acres each year.

An additional $674.1 million in 2022-23 will create 1,350 new jobs and expand firefighting crews and air strike operations, providing additional relief for CAL FIRE personnel to meet the demands of wilderness firefighting in a changing climate to be fair. California also rolled out “FIRIS” statewide to provide real-time intelligence and situational awareness to responders and managers of the State’s and California’s Mutual Aid System.

Never in California’s history has the state had as many first attack aircraft available to respond to fires as it has today. In addition to CAL FIRE’s existing fleet of 62 aircraft, 18 exclusive use helicopters and 6 exclusive use fixed wing aircraft have been leased and strategically placed throughout the state to provide even greater responsiveness. Additionally, this marked the first year that CAL FIRE’s new Fire Hawk helicopters have been able to conduct nighttime aerial firefighting operations, proving to be another valuable capability. This year’s state budget provided four additional Fire Hawk helicopters, adding to the 12 Fire Hawks the state has purchased since Governor Newsom was elected in 2018.

Gov. Newsom and state fire department officials announced the end of peak fire season in most areas of California at a Napa fire station

“We are proud to announce the end of the 2022 peak fire season and give our heartfelt thanks to the brave women and men who have worked tirelessly this year to protect and protect California’s communities and natural resources,” said Joe Tyler, Director by CAL FIRE. “While Mother Nature has provided us with favorable conditions, it is the investments of Gov. Newsom and the Legislature, and the hard work of our crews and communities coming together, that will continue to turn the page on the severity and devastation of past wildfire seasons. But our work is far from over, and we continue to urge all Californians to redouble their fire safety and prevention efforts.”

According to CAL FIRE, the state has seen a significant decrease in acres burned and buildings damaged or destroyed this year compared to previous years:

While firefighters were still battling fires this time last year, the state was able to turn its head early and focus on prevention and mitigation by completing more than 20,000 acres of mandated fire and mechanical fuel reductions in strategic areas over the past two months. Completed in collaboration with local, state and federal partners and a number of tribal communities, significantly more work is underway than in previous years.

“California is addressing the growing challenges of climate change by building robust partnerships at the local, state and federal levels,” said Mark Ghilarducci, director of the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. “We’re also leveraging new technology, adding more staff and equipment, and improving our game to quickly spot fires and put them out where they start.

Successful and aggressive initial attack efforts were aided by additional personnel, air resources, and equipment that contained many fires that could have been catastrophic. Examples are the rice fire, the electra fire and the dutch fire. In major wildfires where property was lost, firefighters have prevented massive disasters, including saving an estimated 9,236 threatened buildings in the Mosquito Fire (where 78 buildings were destroyed) and saving 427 threatened buildings from damage or destruction in the Oak Fire (where 194 buildings were destroyed).

While Mother Nature played an integral role, the entire fire prevention and safety toolbox of prevention, education, suppression, and protection and recovery worked together to keep Californians safe while protecting state communities and forests. This year is likely to be an outlier in terms of favorable conditions. According to a state report released earlier this month, half of the state’s largest wildfires over the past 70 years happened in just two years: 2020 and 2021.