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California Gave Cal Fire $1.5 Billion for Wildfire Prevention. How is that Effort Going?

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Fire crews use drip torches to ignite grasses on the forest floor during a controlled burn. (Raymond Gehman via Getty Images)

California allocated a record $1.5 billion for wildfire prevention and forest health in 2021. Yet Cal Fire, the agency largely in charge of prevention efforts, is struggling to track and implement projects and took years to authorize to establish a prescribed-burn workforce certification program, as required by state law. At the same time, its firefighting staff has increased substantially — demonstrating what experts have characterized as an internal prioritization of suppression over mitigation. That’s all according to a monthslong investigation by California Newsroom reporters, who join us to talk about their findings.


Scott Rodd, state government reporter, Capital Public Radio

Danielle Venton, science reporter, KQED News


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