The fire protection budget of the state’s forestry department (mostly funded from the state General Fund) continues to rise significantly. This reflects changing forest conditions fueling fire risk, increasing housing development at the wildland-urban boundary, and increasing labor costs. We make a number of recommendations to control the rising costs, including clarifying state and local roles for providing emergency services, modifying the criteria by which land is designated a state responsibility for fire protection, and enacting a fee on private landowners to partially cover the state‘s costs in providing fire protection services that benefit them.