Cal Fire Prepares for Wildfires Despite State Budget Woes

California is facing a $54 billion shortfall

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San Diego is going to get hot this week.

That means those green hills and valleys will continue to get brown.

“This is just par for the course for us,” said Cal Fire Capt. Issac Sanchez. “The weather’s going to continue to warm up. The fuel’s going to continue to dry out.”

Temperatures are expected to hit the 90s and reach triple-digits in eastern San Diego County. Sanchez said they are keeping an eye on everything.

“We’re still doing our inspections out there in the community,” Sanchez said. “We’re still doing our vegetation management.”

Sanchez said that his state agency is moving forward with wildfire preparedness plans despite a looming $54 billion budget shortfall precipitated by the coronavirus pandemic. Sanchez and a Cal Fire chief in Sacramento both told NBC 7, however, that they don't know how or if the budget shortfall will impact their operations.

“We’re still preparing like this is going to be the worst wildfire season ever, because we have to,” Sanchez said. “There’s always a concern that, somehow, we’ll be negatively impacted, but that’s not something we have time to worry about right now.”

The state of California set aside money to help homeowners replace dangerous wood-shingle roofing with more fire-resistant materials, but Gov. Gavin Newsom suggested in May that the program be suspended.

In the meantime, Sanchez said San Diego is perpetually in a fire season. The scariest time of year, though, begins in the late summer and early fall. That’s when San Diego County is mostly dry and dangerous Santa Ana winds blow through.

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