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State Wildfire Response Costs Estimated to Be Higher Than Budgeted


Brief

[PDF] The 2023-24 Budget: Improving Legislative Oversight of CalFire’s Emergency Fire Protection Budget

May 1, 2023 - In this brief, we discuss the design of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection's budget for emergency wildfire response, known as the Emergency Fund (E-Fund). We also provide recommendations for modifying the structure of the E-Fund to enhance legislative oversight and control over department expenditures, while preserving necessary budgetary flexibility.

Report

[PDF] The 2020-21 Budget: Governor's Wildfire-Related Proposals

February 21, 2020 - While wildfires have always been a natural part of California’s ecosystems, recent increases in the severity of wildfires and the adverse impacts on communities have increased the focus on the state’s ability to effectively prevent, mitigate, and respond to wildfire risks. This report has two parts. First, we assess the state’s approach to addressing wildfire risks in light of the complex challenges that make an efficient and effective approach difficult. Second, we evaluate the Governor’s various wildfire‑related budget proposals in the absence of having a statewide strategic wildfire plan.

Report

[PDF] Reducing the Destructiveness of Wildfires: Promoting Defensible Space in California

September 30, 2021 - A key strategy for reducing home losses during wildfires is for homeowners to maintain an area free of excess or dead vegetation around their homes, known as defensible space. This report identifies the challenges to improving the number of homeowners in compliance with existing state and local defensible space requirements and provides recommendations to address these challenges in order to reduce the destructiveness of future wildfires.

Executive Summary (PDF)

Handout

[PDF] Wildfires, Emergency Readiness, and Response

January 31, 2019 - Presented to: Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee

Post

The 2018-19 Budget: Fire Recovery Proposals

March 1, 2018 - The Governor’s budget assumes $760 million in additional General Fund will be needed in 2017‑18 for response and recovery associated with the 2017 fires in Northern and Southern California, $388 million of which will be reimbursed by the federal government in 2018‑19. For 2018‑19, the Governor proposes a total of $35 million from the General Fund for recovery costs associated the fires in Northern California, such as related to rebuilding public infrastructure and backfilling local tax revenue losses. While we do not raise specific concerns about the administration’s funding requests, we recommend that the Legislature direct the administration to report at budget hearings on the proposed funding and submit formal proposals for any future budget-year funding requests. We also recommend that the Legislature consider its priorities for allocating assistance to local governments affected by disasters and longer-term strategies for reducing future wildfire risk, such as strategies to improve forest health.

Correction (3/12/18): When this post was originally published, Figure 1 displayed the wrong graph. The correct graph is now in place.

Handout

[PDF] The 2021-22 Budget: Department of Forestry and Fire Protection

February 4, 2021 - This publication discusses the Governor's 2021-22 January budget proposals for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, including $143 million for hand crews, $8 million for defensible space inspectors, and $54 million for various capital outlay projects.

Handout

[PDF] The 2021-22 Budget: Wildfire Resilience Package—Analysis of Individual Programs

February 5, 2021 - This publication provides detailed information and our initial comments on each component of the Governor's 2021-22 package of proposals—totaling $1 billion—to reduce the risk of severe and damaging wildfires. (See also our publication The 2021-22 Budget: Wildfire Resilience Package for an overview of and our initial comments on the package.)

Report

[PDF] The 2022-23 Budget: Wildfire and Forest Resilience Package

January 26, 2022 - In this brief, we provide our initial assessment and recommendations in response to the Governor's wildfire resilience package, which would provide $1.2 billion over two years (including $800 million of new funding) for proposals intended to reduce the risk of severe and damaging wildfires.

Post

The 2019-20 Budget: California Spending Plan—Resources and Environmental Protection

October 17, 2019 - The 2019-20 budget includes over $12 billion for the state’s natural resources and environmental protection programs. This post describes budgetary actions related to the annual cap-and-trade expenditure plan, support for a new safe and affordable drinking water program, funding for a variety of wildfire prevention and response activities, as well as other significant changes.

Brief

[PDF] The 2024-25 Budget: CalFire—Implementation of a 66-Hour Workweek

March 19, 2024 - In this brief, we analyze the Governor's proposal to implement a 66-hour workweek for California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection firefighters.

Report

[PDF] The 2019-20 Budget: Natural Resources and Environmental Protection

February 14, 2019 - In this report, we assess several of the Governor’s budget proposals in the natural resources and environmental protection areas. Based on our review, we recommend various changes, as well as additional legislative oversight. We provide a complete listing of our recommendations at the end of this report.

Report

Improving California's Forest and Watershed Management

April 4, 2018 - This report consists of five sections. First, we review the importance of and benefits provided by California’s forests. Second, we provide information regarding how forests are managed in California, including ownership, state and federal policies and programs, and funding. Third, we review the current conditions of forests and watersheds across the state, including the concerning implications and recent consequences of those conditions, as well as the actions that would be needed to make improvements. Fourth, in the findings section, we highlight shortcomings in how the state manages its forests and watersheds. Fifth, we offer recommendations for actions the Legislature could take to improve forest and watershed management in California.

Report

[PDF] The 2022-23 Budget: Wildfire Response Proposals

January 28, 2022 - In this brief, we provide our initial assessment and recommendations in response to the major wildfire response-related proposals included in the Governor’s 2022-23 budget.

Handout

[PDF] Wildfire Prevention and Forest Resiliency

August 31, 2021 - This handout provides background information on recent wildfire resilience-related budget actions. It also provides an update on the administration’s progress thus far towards committing the funding provided in the April 2021 Wildfire and Forest Resilience Early Action Package to specific projects and activities.