As firefighters across California brace for what they say will be another challenging season, community organizations are partnering with the state to provide new tools to help prevent wildfires.
In April, Gov. Gavin Newsom approved an $80 million investment to hire 1,400 new firefighters and increase wildfire mitigation efforts.
Cal Fire Assistant Deputy Director Daniel Berlant says he’s grateful for the extra resources available this year, especially as the fight against fires is intensifying with each passing season.
“We are ready for fires here in California. We’re fortunate to have the most dedicated wildland firefighters in the entire world. We have the largest air fleet, we have the most firefighters, but we’re always going to rely on our local partners to help us respond,” he said.
Over the last five years, more than 47,000 buildings have been destroyed in devastating fires throughout California.
Berlant is calling on all individuals to do their part to protect their homes by creating defensible space around their properties.
“This is not a new topic, but what we really need to get across is the fact that climate is changing, our fire seasons are changing,” he added.
Berlant notes there are now more ways for people to prepare, such as new trailers equipped with a variety of tools for people to make their homes more fire resistant.
Listos California, a state effort to boost disaster preparedness, has teamed up with the California Fire Safe Council to build 13 trailers that will be placed in vulnerable communities throughout the state.
“These types of organizations, these types of projects, these types of trailers really help us address the need in our communities to be fire safe,” Berlant explained.
Gregory O'Donnell, a California Conservation Corps member, helped build the trailers and says these projects are what make his job so rewarding.
“I really think my life has improved since I joined,” he said.
The 20-year-old signed up to be a corps member after struggling to complete college courses during the pandemic.
“Online classes, being cooped up inside all day, it wasn’t it you know,” O’Donnell added. “So, we decided we should just go out and do something with our lives, so that’s why we’re doing this program because we really wanted to be a part of something.”
The trailers O’Donnell helped create will be filled with $10,000 of equipment to help communities complete fire prevention projects.
Berlant says these new tools will make a remarkable difference in fighting California’s wildfires this year.
Californians can get more simple, low-cost tips on how to prepare for wildfires and other natural disasters by texting LISTOSCA to 72345.