California Looks to the National Guard to Help Prevent the Next Major Wildfire

Taking on a new era of fire danger.

In most situations, the National Guard is called on during or after a national disaster. Following a string of devastating wildfires in the state, California Governor Gavin Newsom is calling on about 100 members of the Guard to step in before the next crisis hits. According to the Christian Science Monitor, “his strategy underscores the severity of the threat and, in a broader sense, illuminates an emerging cooperation between environmental groups and timber interests to restore forests.”

“Six of the 10 most destructive fires in California history occurred in the past two years, including the state’s deadliest blaze in and around the town of Paradise last fall. The Camp fire claimed 86 lives and almost 19,000 homes, businesses and other structures. Smoke and ash from the inferno blanketed cities as far away as San Francisco, 170 miles to the south.

“California will spend $1 billion over the next five years to bolster its fight against fires intensified by climate change and years of withering drought–a fight complicated by the deep penetration of home and commercial development into woodlands.

“Governor Newsom declared a state of emergency on wildfires in March to accelerate the work. Since then, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or CalFire, has targeted 35 areas for fuel reduction by next spring as officials seek to protect some 200 cities and towns considered most vulnerable to wildfires. The projects cover 90,000 acres and involve removal of dead trees, clearing undergrowth, creating firebreaks and prescribed burning.”

You can read more about the preventative efforts here.