Drought Prompts CAL FIRE to Increase Staffing to Fight Elevated Wildfire Risk

Drought Prompts CAL FIRE to Increase Staffing to Fight Elevated Wildfire Risk

California’s drought has elevated the state’s wildfire risk, prompting the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection – CAL FIRE – to hire 125 supplemental firefighters.

CAL FIRE announced in a press release Jan. 28 that it has hired 125 supplemental firefighters in Northern California and also extended its seasonal firefighting forces in Southern California due to dry winter conditions.

In Northern California, CAL FIRE also is adding two additional fire engines in each of its 12 administrative units as well as a third fire engine in the Shasta-Trinity Unit. Additionally, the Chico Air Attack Base has been re-opened with two fixed wing aircraft that can fight fires.

In declaring a drought state of emergency Jan. 17, Gov. Jerry Brown called for the hiring of additional firefighters to meet the  increased wildfire risk due to drought.

“In order to maintain a sufficient depth of resources to address the prolonged, elevated threat of wildfire due to drought, we have staffed 25 additional fire engines and have retained aerial firefighting assets at five air attack bases that would normally be closed this time of year,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, director of CAL FIRE. “We have a well exercised mechanism for addressing short term elevations in the threat of wildfire, but these prolonged conditions warrant an even more aggressive action in order for us to be prepared to protect the people, property and natural resources of California.”


The additional firefighters have been assigned to the following areas:

Unit: # of additional firefighters:

Amador-El Dorado Unit: 10

Butte Unit: 12

San Mateo-Santa Cruz Unit: 12

Humboldt Unit: 10

Lassen-Modoc: 10

Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit: 5

Mendocino Unit: 10

Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit: 12

Santa Clara Unit: 12

Shasta-Trinity Unit: 10

Siskiyou Unit: 10

Tehama-Glenn Unit: 12