MENDOCINO Co., 5/7/21 — California is in the grip of a historic drought and wildfires have already begun across California: Mendocino County has already seen the first significant wildfire of the season with the Turnout Fire in April, and right now, red flag warnings are in effect. Typically, early May would be a good time to wrap up any brush clearing and yard work for defensible space, which is why this week has been declared “Wildlife Preparedness Week” in California, kicking off with a series of presentations from Cal Fire and a proclamation from Governor Gavin Newsom.
In Mendocino County, 2020 brought the distinction off California’s first recorded million acre wildfire, with the August Complex fires sparked by an unusual lightning storm, which quickly surpassed the Mendocino Complex tk as the state’s largest wildfire on record.
Here’s some additional resources in our emergency guide, which also includes as well as an ongoing series of columns from the Mendocino Fire Safe Council you might find useful
Here’s the announcement from Newsom:
Last year, California experienced six of the largest and most destructive wildfires in state history. More than 4 million acres burned across the state – more than the 2017 and 2018 fire season combined. The fact is – the hots are getting hotter and the dries are getting drier. And not just in California, but across the globe. Hotter, drier conditions driven by climate change are contributing to unparalleled risk of catastrophic wildfire across landscapes. With continued dry conditions and ever-present climate change, California is facing another difficult and dangerous wildfire year.
My Administration is taking urgent action to meet this challenge head-on. In January, I proposed $1 billion in funding for fire resilience and forest health efforts to protect vulnerable communities across the state, with home hardening and defensible space projects, strategic fuel breaks and evacuation routes, and sustainable approaches to manage our diverse landscapes. These investments will not only improve wildfire resilience, but will create jobs, support sustainable local economies and contribute long-term ecological benefits such as improved watersheds and biodiversity.
We are continuing to expand the state’s robust wildfire suppression efforts with 30 new fire crews; five CAL FIRE Hawk helicopters (S70i), with seven more delivered by 2023; and seven C-130 aircraft that are being converted to air tankers. CAL FIRE has deployed more wildfire monitoring cameras and enhanced technology to assist with fire behavior modeling and provide on- demand wildfire spread prediction and wildfire risk forecasting capabilities. Building on the success of emergency fuel reduction projects that saved lives during the 2020 fire siege, CAL FIRE is increasing its pace and capacity to deliver fuel breaks throughout fire-prone California. These projects are vital to slowing and reducing the intensity of wildfires.
With ownership of California forestland divided among federal, state and local government, as well as private owners, coordinated stewardship is essential. Last year, I signed a Shared Stewardship Agreement with the U.S. Forest Service that established an unprecedented joint strategy between state and federal agencies to meet a goal of treating 1 million acres annually by 2025. We are also investing in regionally driven wildfire resilience strategies to ensure fuels management and wildland restoration work is tailored to the unique ecologies and communities throughout our state.
All Californians have a critical role in protecting themselves and their communities from wildfire. Now is the time to help prevent loss of life and property by ensuring adequate defensible space around homes and buildings, making homes more fire resistant and having an emergency preparedness and escape plan. Learn more about wildfire safety and preparedness at www.ReadyForWildfire.org.
NOW THEREFORE I, GAVIN NEWSOM, Governor of the State of California, do hereby proclaim May 2-8, 2021 as “Wildfire Preparedness Week.”