District 1 Senator Brian Dahle addresses a crowd as he announces bipartisan legislation to be proposed next year designed to increase the number of firefighters in the state. Photo submitted

Dahle, state senators unite to address firefighter shortage

California Senators Brian Dahle and Mike McGuire announced today an effort to improve California’s need to protect life and property from the devastation of wildfires.

According to a statement from Dahle, because of staff shortages, firefighters are working long hours, taking them away from their families and putting public safety and property at risk.

“Wildfires are becoming increasingly intense and destructive,” Dahle said. “If we don’t focus on the root cause of fuel loads, we are putting more lives and property in danger. This new legislation will address staffing shortages so our brave men and women firefighters are able to protect California’s communities, forests, and wild lands while reducing future risks.”

The senators agreed to a bipartisan legislative effort that would provide for hundreds of additional full-time firefighters and hand crews. The legislation will be introduced in 2022, creating minimum staffing levels ensuring that our first responders’ physical and mental health are a priority, freeing up resources to fight fires while reducing fire danger in our communities and forest lands.

At an estimated $214 million, this new effort could add more than 360 firefighters and 16 hand crews to the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.