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California is 100% ready for wildfires

June 04, 2007

Re "Living with fire," Opinion, May 22

I would like to reassure Californians that we have substantially increased the level of fire protection in the state since 2003.

Californians should know that the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection is 100% ready to fight wildfires. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has increased fire protection spending by 21% since taking office and provided more than $150 million in additional funding. In each of the last three years, the governor's budget has allocated $17 million a year for more equipment.

The department's aviation program is the best firefighting operation in the world. The recently signed executive order by the governor will allow the deployment of a DC-10 supertanker on large fires. During the recent Griffith Park and Catalina Island fires, we all worked well with our local and military counterparts.

But our biggest partnership is with homeowners who reduce the threat of wildfires by removing flammable vegetation and brush around their homes.

RUBEN GRIJALVA

Director, California

Department of Forestry

and Fire Protection

Sacramento

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