Weekly News Round-Up: Nov. 25, 2022

Gov. Newsom visits fire-scarred Napa to trumpet California’s wildfire prevention spending

November 17, 2022

The Press Democrat – Phil Barber

NAPA — Behind Gov. Gavin Newsom as he stepped to the podium to address the media on Thursday, and the Cal Fire personnel arrayed at his back, and the shiny trucks and helicopters meant to symbolize the state’s investment in firefighting equipment, were hills that had been scorched by the deadly Atlas Fire in 2017.

Wildfire is never far from the conversation here in this flame-scarred region of Northern California, which made the Cal Fire station just east of Napa a natural setting for Newsom’s recap on all his administration has done to boost fire preparedness and resilience since he took office in 2019.

Why California Wildfires Burned Far Less This Year

November 15, 2022

E&E News – Anne C. Mulkern

California is enjoying fewer extreme wildfires than it has in years, which experts attribute to a combination of summer rain, calm weather and increased forest management.

As of Thursday, fires had blackened less than 363,000 acres throughout the Golden State. That’s far less than last year, when 2.5 million acres burned, and 2020, when fires torched a record 4 million acres.

“We are throwing absolutely everything we have at the fire conditions to try to keep people safe,” said Brian Ferguson, spokesperson at the California Office of Emergency Services. “But we’ve also got lucky and had some support from Mother Nature.”

Wildfire smoke is inevitable in California. But there are some things government can do about it, report says

November 14, 2022

San Francisco Chronicle – Claire Hao

Californians have been exposed to increasingly more wildfire smoke in the last decade as the state experiences more large, high-severity wildfires, a trend that is poised to continue, according to a new report from the California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office, a nonpartisan fiscal and policy advisor to the legislature.

Exposure to wildfire smoke is linked to a variety of negative health effects, such as increased risk of asthma, heart attacks, preterm birth and death, according to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office report. These concerns disproportionately affect certain groups like pregnant people, those with pre-existing heart and lung conditions and young children and the elderly, the report said.