LAKE COUNTY — Governor Gavin Newsom announced an ambitious fire prevention plan Friday in the heart of Lake County, which suffered the first of a series of massive wildfires in 2015.
There have been other larger, more destructive and deadly fires since then.
“I’m signing a proclamation declaring an emergency in advance of an emergency,” Newsom said.
Newsom’s proclamation allows fast-tracking prescribed burns, clearing out fire breaks, and manage forests, in the most vulnerable areas.
“Projects that could take two years, we can do them in two months,” he said.
It also means doing faster environmental reviews.
“I’ve made no bones about the fact if we can fast track CEQA for football stadiums and arenas, we can do so to save lives,” Newsom said.
Among the other initiatives, the plan helps local officials organize and prepare for disasters, and provides $50 million to mobilize volunteer groups like Americorps which have always responded to the need for help.
“That’s why the governor is initiating this California for all emergency campaign because he’s going to be galvanizing all these individuals who want to be a part of preparing their community,” California Volunteers spokeswoman Karen Baker said.
The governor says the cost in lives and property from a catastrophic wildfire can be massive, and it’s much cheaper to invest in prevention efforts.