SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — California just experienced its driest first quarter of a given year on record, and because of that, the California Fire Council is launching a first-of-its-kind statewide program to fine-tune wildfire prevention at a more local level.

There’s now a staff of newly-hired fire-safe coordinators who will shepherd operations in 24 counties.

The U.S. Forest Service partnered with the council in prevention efforts.

Leaders said evolving wisdom about the threat of all fire is focusing limited resources on treating landscapes before they have the chance to burn and zeroing in on the real threats out there.

“From the onset of our agency, we’ve had a strategy of suppressing all fires no matter what. This has allowed the fuel to develop more than it would have naturally. In the past, there would have been natural fires that would have cleared fuels,” explained Nicole Williams, asst. director for USF Fire & Aviation Management.

Every year we hear about the importance of having defensible space around homes, and while that can be challenging to create in the best of circumstances,  it can be even more so for those who are seniors or low-income in a high-risk zone.

A new assistance program from the council will make $3 million available for those families to cut back the dry brush and limbs that could spark tragedy.