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More Than 25 Percent Of California's Firefighting Budget Already Up In Smoke

Aug 2, 2014

The state of California is burning through its fire fighting budget – less than a month into the new fiscal year.
Credit Capital Public Radio

Less than a month into the new fiscal year, California has already used up more than a quarter of the money set aside in the state budget for fighting wildfires.

CalFire has spent $47 million since July 1st, out of 209 million for the fiscal year that ends next June.

But H.D. Palmer with the governor’s Department of Finance says if the money runs out, the state will just turn to its budget reserve.

Palmer: “There will never be a situation where cash or finances are going to be any type of an impediment in any way whatsoever, to be able to deploy individuals and material to out there and knock those fires down as fast as possible.” 

The reserve is less than half the size it was in last year’s budget. But even if it gets burnt through too, the state would pull money from another part of the budget.

The National Weather Service says well over half of California is now in “exceptional drought” conditions – the most severe level it measures.