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High Fire Season Set For Santa Barbara County; Governor Beefing Up Statewide Firefighting Capability

The Cave Fire burning in Santa Barbara County in November, 2019

While California is focused on dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, firefighters on the Central and South Coasts are preparing for peak wildfire season.

The Santa Barbara County Fire Department announced that it and other fire agencies in the county are declaring May 18 the start of high brush fire season.

Staffing will be increased to allow a bigger immediate response to brush fires. As of the 18th, all residential burn permits will be suspended.

Meanwhile, Governor Newsom put $85 million dollars more into his budget to increase the state’s firefighting capacity.

He wants to add 600 additional fire personnel. and he says that even with the financial strain caused by coronavirus, the are still plans to add firefighting helicopters and planes.

The governor noted that we could be in for a tough high fire season. He says from January to May of 2019, we had 675 brush fires. During the same period this year, we’ve already had more than 1100.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral. 
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