SACRAMENTO COUNTY — California’s wildfires have been getting bigger and more intense each year, and Cal Fire says one of their biggest challenges has been a lack of equipment.
But that may change over the next few years.
Governor Gavin Newsom and former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger toured McClellan Business Park to see some of the state’s new investments in firefighting Thursday morning.
“The first year when I was governor, there were fires in the spring and sometimes in the fall, and then all of a sudden over a few years, there were fires throughout the whole year,” Schwarzenegger said.
This year, Newsom is allocating nearly a billion dollars of the state’s budget toward wildfire suppression. He says Schwarzenegger laid the groundwork during his time in office to expand Cal Fire.
“Cal Fire flies more planes, this type and other types, than any other firefighting force in the world. We are only adding to that,” Newsom said.
Over the course of the next four years, Cal Fire will add seven new C-130 air tankers to their fleet and replace some of their Vietnam-era Huey helicopters with Black Hawks.
The C-130 can carry four times the amount of retardant than the old Grumman S-2 planes, Newsom said.
The Black Hawks give Cal Fire the advantage of flying at night, which is something they haven’t been able to do in years past.
Governor Newsom is also funding more infrared and drone technology to battle blazes across the state.
“It’s August 1st, next 90 to 120 days may be challenging for this state but because of these investments, this state believes very strongly that the best is yet to come,” Newsom said.