California Governor Remembers Camp Fire Lives

On Three-Year Anniversary, Governor Newsom Remembers Camp Fire Lives and Communities Lost

SACRAMENTO, CA (STL.News) On the three-year anniversary of the deadliest fire in state history, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the work to remove damaged trees and structural wildfire debris from the 2018 Camp Fire in Butte County is complete.

Ignited on November 8, 2018, the Camp Fire claimed the lives of 85 people and destroyed more than 18,800 structures. Since February 2019, state crews have worked to remove more than 97,200 fire-damaged trees in a 240 square mile area that threatened public roads and cleaned up debris from around 11,000 burned properties in Butte County.

“As we hold the victims of this devastating fire and their families close in our hearts, we are inspired by the incredible resilience of the people of Butte County and their dedication to caring for one another on the road to recovery,” said Governor Newsom.  “Today marks an important milestone on that journey, and California will continue to stand with all the communities impacted by wildfire as they work to rebuild.”

Before assuming office, Governor Newsom worked closely with Governor Jerry Brown’s administration to ensure Camp Fire survivors had the full support of the state.  In 2019, Governor Newsom signed fire recovery and emergency response bills to provide emergency funding to local governments like those in Butte County and approved a Rural Designation for Paradise and other areas of Butte County, making them eligible for additional funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Program totaling more than $500 million.

The Governor’s 2021 state budget includes $113.5 million General Fund and $103.5 million in anticipated FEMA reimbursements – a total of $217 million – for reconstruction and restoration of wildfire damages in 2020, supporting communities across the state.  The California Comeback Plan’s historic $2.2 billion investment to build wildfire resiliency and advance emergency response supports additional firefighting crews, new equipment and expanded land and forest management, and builds on the Governor’s previous budget investments in emergency management and executive actions to help combat catastrophic wildfires.  Governor Newsom surged CAL FIRE’s firefighting ranks in March by authorizing the early hire of 1,399 additional firefighters and supplemented the department’s capacities with 12 additional aircraft.

Last year, the Newsom Administration and the U.S. Forest Service announced a shared stewardship agreement under which they are working to treat one million acres of forest and wildland annually to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire.  The Governor earlier this year launched an expanded and refocused Wildfire and Forest Resilience Task Force, with federal, local and tribal leaders, to deliver on key commitments in the Governor’s Wildfire and Forest Resilience Action Plan.