The California State budget that was passed for this fiscal year was relying on a $150 dollar per year fee imposed on properties in the State Responsibility Area to shore up the Cal Fire operating budget. But now that the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection has lowered that fee to $90 per unit, and even that amount could face legal challenge, Cal Fire Nevada Yuba Placer Unit Chief, Brad Harris says funding for Cal Fire for the remainder of this fiscal year remains uncertain.
“That’s one of the questions that’s going to have to be answered in the near future. We’re struggling through, right now, a 15.8 million dollar budget cut in the current budget and we’re trying to work through the FRA fee issue to see exactly how that plays into things.”
Chief Harris explains the cuts that have already gone into effect for this fiscal year.
“We reduced the staffing on our engines from four persons down to three. That was about 37million, and then there were some other additional cuts in there and there’s still a pending 15.8 million dollar budget reduction that we’re working on to resolve right now.”
He says this year Cal Fire took about an $80 million dollar cut in their budget.