California Wildfires: Californians Deserve Better Protection!
A day after the intense wildfire that plagued the city of Lake Tahoe, California, a huge firefighting force prepared for strong winds Tuesday while some residents in Nevada were ordered to evacuate.
This is an ordeal that the state has always been faced with, and while some are working hard to survive, reports of the state governor “fudging the numbers on the state’s wildfire prevention efforts”.
Wildfires are burning in large areas in California with many families forced to leave their homes, habitat loss, and many businesses and communities destroyed.
According to Newsom in a press conference held last year, “I am happy to be back here on my first day at work to make a symbolic and substantive point. I place no greater emphasis and energy and sense of urgency than on the issue of public safety … and in particular on issues of emergency preparedness,” Newsom said.
“In broad strokes, we are stepping up our game. I hear you, I get it, we need to do more and better. The last two years have been devastating.”
After Newsom delivered his speech during the press conference, Cal Fire immediately identified 35 priority projects that could be implemented to help reduce public risk to more than 200 communities.
According to the information presented by Cal Fire, these projects, which total about 90,000 acres, including removal of hazardous dead trees, vegetation clearing, creation of fuel breaks and community defensible spaces, and creation of ingress and egress corridors.
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The following year, the government announced that the project was completed and had collectively treated 90,000 acres.
Oppositely, results from an analysis by Capital Public Radio and NPR showed that Cal Fire only treated “11,399 acres or about 13% of the amount cited by Newsom.”
In a reply to an email sent by Capital Public Radio, Cal Fire PIO Daniel Berlant acknowledged, “The 90k acre figure was the overall project area, but not necessarily the area treated.”
Furthermore, according to Cal Fire Chief Thom Porter, “The state was never going to be able to tackle all 90,000 acres in 2019. “We didn’t have all of the environmental clearance that we were going to need to do all of that work,” Porter added.
The state has always been marred with wildfires and by Tuesday, according to a report by Reuters, the fire had damaged more than 191,000 acres (77,300 hectares) of drought-parched forests, some 14,000 acres (5,665 hectares) more than the day before and firefighters had only managed to carve containment lines around just 16% of its perimeter.
Within this season alone, there are more than 6,800 large and small wildfires and have ravaged an estimated 1.7 million acres (689,000 hectares) within the state.