Not surprisingly, the wildfire tab is growing.
The state has exceeded projected fire suppression costs in seven of the last 10 years. In 2018, California spent nearly $1 billion on fire suppression and emergency response, far exceeding the budgeted $450 million.
Cal Fire boasts one of the largest, if not the largest, firefighting air fleets in the world, including S-2T air tankers and Huey helicopters. The state will start upgrading the Hueys to Black Hawks and begin to add C-130 Hercules cargo planes.
And rather than waiting to respond to a wildfire, emergency personnel have shifted to pre-positioning strike teams before a fire even starts. It’s a strategy that costs more.