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Cal Fire Burning Through Its Budget

Aug 20, 2012

A fire burns in the Sierra - file photo
Credit Sierra National Forest

Fire season in California is about half over, but the state has already spent more than two-thirds of its $93 million firefighting budget.

H.D. Palmer is with the California Department of Finance. He says the state is prepared to pay, whatever the cost.

“If we do spend more for fire suppression than is in the budget, that doesn’t mean that the tankers don’t fly, that doesn’t mean the hand crews aren’t out there, that doesn’t mean the trucks don’t show up, we will have emergency appropriation authority to do that.”

Palmer says the emergency appropriations would be paid for out of the state’s budget reserve. That’s just under a billion dollars.

Cal Fire has already spent $64 million, which is close to what it spent all of last year.

The state sets a budget for Cal Fire based on the amounts spent the previous three years.