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The Nature Conservancy Applauds Governor Newsom’s Budget Proposal to Improve Wildfire Resilience and Address Climate Change

A ring of flame is created around a young hazel plant, burning away competitors during an indigenous prescribed burn near Weitchpec, CA.
Yurok Fire A ring of flame is created around a young hazel plant, burning away competitors during an indigenous prescribed burn near Weitchpec, CA. Hazelnuts are an important food for the Yurok, and this type of carefully managed burning can selectively protect particular important cultural plants. © Kiliii Yuyan

“Following a record 4.2 million acres burned in 2020, The Nature Conservancy strongly supports the $1 billion commitment for fire prevention actions from Governor Newsom in his FY 2021-22 budget proposal. This funding is a critical step towards improving wildfire resilience and saving lives across California,” said Jay Ziegler, Director of External Affairs and Policy, The Nature Conservancy in California. 

“Fires have killed 134 people, destroyed 44,000 structures and polluted the air across our state over the last four years, and California continues to face an unprecedented risk of megafires exacerbated by a changing climate. Governor Newsom’s proposed budget includes the Wildfire and Forest Resilience Action Plan, an important road map to increasing wildfire prevention in California including forest restoration, prescribed fire, and resilience-building for high-risk communities. 

“The Wildfire and Forest Resilience Action Plan will accelerate efforts to reduce the risk that severe wildfires pose to our communities, air quality, wildlife and water supplies. However, in order to accomplish the ambitious goals outlined in the Plan, California’s significant investment must be matched by federal funding. We call on the Biden Administration and Congress to dramatically increase federal funding for wildfire risk reduction activities.

“In order to respond to the scale of the climate challenge our state is facing, California also needs a comprehensive and well-funded Climate Resilience Bond to address California’s immediate climate risks, including wildfires, extreme heat, drought and flooding.  A bond would accelerate investments in proven climate resilience strategies that safeguard both human health and the environment.”

“The Nature Conservancy looks forward to continued collaboration with the Newsom Administration and the California State Legislature to advance these critical priorities and help shape a resilient future for people and nature.”

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 75 countries and territories: 37 by direct conservation impact and 38 through partners, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.