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Public Safety

California Burns Through Firefighting Budget

The Butts fire in Napa County, California, July 2, 2014.
Andrew Nixon, Capital Public Radio
The Butts fire in Napa County, California, July 2, 2014.

California is just three months into its fiscal year, but it’s already exhausted its emergency firefighting budget. Now the state is tapping into reserves. 

California had allocated $209 million for emergency firefighting, but it blew through that budget early last week. Now Gov. Jerry Brown’s Department of Finance is transferring $70 million from a reserve fund to a disaster response account. In a letter to the state’s Joint Legislative Budget Committee, the Department of Finance says this is just an initial transfer.

It’s not unusual for the state to exceed its emergency firefighting budget. Last year the state had to use about $70 million in reserves. The year before California exceeded its budget by nearly $148 million. However, this is the fastest the state has run through its budget within the last five years. The Department of Finance stresses all fires will continue to be fought, regardless of the cost.

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