“Fund wildfire crews in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.”

–Assemblymember Steve Bennett

Add your name here to support funding for local wildfire protection:

Assemblymember Steve Bennett, representing Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties, is leading the fight to secure funding in the upcoming California Climate Change Package for six fuel fire crews for the counties at the highest risk for wildfires.

These counties – including Santa Barbara and Ventura – contract with CAL FIRE to provide fire prevention and suppression using their infrastructure of fire stations, personnel, and specialized resources (air operations, hand crews, dozers). If not for this successful arrangement we would see more large wildfires drawing resources from CAL FIRE and local agencies across the state.

These counties maintain year-round and seasonal wildland fuels crews to perform hazardous fuels reduction work as well as to provide a robust initial attack response to wildland fires to keep fires to 10 acres or less 95% of the time. But wildfire is increasingly becoming a major financial burden on local economies, as suppression efforts are dramatically more expensive.

The recent Thomas Fire (2017) in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties burned 281,893 acres and cost $230 million in suppression and $2.2 billion in other damages. This is a staggering cost at a loss of $8,620 per acre, tripling the cost of preventative treatments on the most hard-to-reach areas.

Assemblymember Steve Bennett’s request for $14,298,000 to fund six fuels crews will help expand local fire protection without draining local budgets.

Steve Bennett and his wife Leslie were fortunate that their home was spared in the Thomas Fire. This was their neighbors’ home across the street.