California is bracing for what experts warn will be a historically dangerous wildfire season. But in his previous attempts to calm the fears of Californians, embattled Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom reportedly lied about the state’s fire prevention efforts.
According to Fox News, Newsom pledged to aggressively move to fight wildfires in the state when he took office in 2019. Since then, he has declared the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection treated 90,00 acres with fuel breaks and controlled burns to make the areas less vulnerable to wildfires.
However, an investigation by CapRadio and NPR’s California Newsroom found only 11,399 acres had actually undergone fire prevention work based on data from the state. This means Newsom inflated the number of acres treated by 690 percent, according to the report.
CapRadio reporter Scott Rodd tweeted pictures of two “priority projects” the governor had mapped out as areas for fire prevention work. They showed the actual area treated for wildfires to be drastically smaller than the projects initially proposed.
Take a look at these two maps of projects in Mendocino County, provided by Cal Fire.
The large green area shows the original project area. The red shows work that was actually completed. 2/ pic.twitter.com/tsanI2c5tF
— Scott Rodd (@SRodd_CPR) June 23, 2021
Overall, the investigation found California’s wildfire response has actually gotten worse under Newsom. Despite his pledge to improve California’s fire prevention strategy, he has reportedly proceeded to cut funding for those very efforts.
“After an initial jump during his first year in office, data obtained by CapRadio and NPR’s California Newsroom show Cal Fire’s fuel reduction output dropped by half in 2020, to levels below Gov. Jerry Brown’s final year in office,” CapRadio reported. “At the same time, Newsom slashed roughly $150 million from Cal Fire’s wildfire prevention budget.”
Meanwhile, wildfires have become increasingly destructive in the state. In 2020, wildfires burned 4.3 million acres of California, more than twice the previous record from 2018.
In 2018, the entire town of Paradise, California, was destroyed by a wildfire known as the “Camp Fire,” and 85 people lost their lives as a result. This makes the fact that significantly more acres burned last year than in 2018 all the more concerning.
Newsom apparently has two strategies to combat this problem, both of which involve misleading the public. The first is reportedly drastically inflating his administration’s response, and the second is blaming the fires on climate change.
“Climate change has created a new reality in the State of California … Wildfires don’t discriminate – they are a rural, suburban and urban danger,” he said in 2019, according to Fox News. “We all have an individual responsibility to step up and step in for our communities as we confront new and growing threats.”
He repeated similar claims in 2020, saying “climate change has profoundly impacted the reality that we’re currently experiencing” as it related to wildfires.
Over 2 million acres have burned this year — SO FAR. We haven’t even hit “peak” fire season.
We do not have time to deny the reality of climate change. pic.twitter.com/kPb11yXprh
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) September 8, 2020
Do you know what could “profoundly” increase the threat of wildfires? Lying about prevention efforts and cutting funding from Cal Fire’s prevention budget.
It is certainly possible warmer temperatures played a part in the increased fires last year, but they were almost certainly aided by Newsom’s apparent failure to prepare vulnerable areas. He conveniently left out that second part in all of his public addresses.
Experts are already predicting another disastrous wildfire season for California, KABC-TV reported. Meteorologist Drew Tuma said 40 percent of the state is in “exceptional drought,” which represents the worst drought category.
In addition, Cal Fire said 16,000 acres had already burned in 2021. Comparatively, only 3,600 had burned at this time last year, and that turned out to be a historically destructive wildfire season.
“Fire season is fast approaching, and Gavin Newsom has left us woefully unprepared for the dangers to come,” former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer told Fox News.
“With new reports showing Newsom has misled the public about his efforts and even disinvested in fire prevention, it’s even more clear that he is in over his head and unable to lead California. It’s time to recall him and elect a Governor who will take fire prevention seriously.”
Faulconer is one of the candidates running against Newsom in the upcoming recall election. On Wednesday, Fox News reported the recall petition had easily crossed the 1.5 million signature threshold, meaning a recall election officially must be held within 90 days.
The reported inflation of his administration’s fire prevention efforts is just one of Newsom’s many failures as governor. He has proven himself completely incompetent to lead the state of California, and now he must face the consequences.
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