Wildfires prompt Cal Fire to request extra money

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By Dawn Hodson McNaughton Newspapers, Inc. CAL FIRE has requested extra firefighting money as its firefighting budget has become exhausted only two months into the new fiscal year. According to information released Sept. 6, CAL FIRE has already spent $431 million of a total budget of $443 million. To help the agency get through the rest of the year, CAL FIRE Director Ken Pimlott has asked the legislature for an additional $234 million to help it get through what promises to be another record setting year for fires. At a San Francisco news conference held last Thursday, California’s insurance commissioner reported that victims of the two largest blazes in the state this year have filed more than 10,000 claims so far totaling $845 million. The damage figures reflect the property damage from the Carr Fire in Redding with losses estimated at $789 million and the Mendocino Complex Fire, the largest fire in the state’s history, which consumed more than 459,000 acres with losses estimated at $56 million. The two wildfires also destroyed or damaged a combined 8,800 homes and 329 businesses. “The worst may be yet to come,” Commissioner David Jones warned, noting that California wildfires are typically more destructive after Sept. 1. “In fact, if you look at CAL FIRE’s list of the top 20 most destructive fires in California’s history, 17 of those have occurred after Sept. 1,” he said. Last year’s fires cost an estimated $12.8 billion.]]>

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