For years, wildfires in the United States have persistently gotten longer, more destructive, and resulted in untold damages to both property and life for those caught in their paths. The 2020 wildfire season in the western United States was no exception.
The National Fire Protection Association Journal reports that, “In California alone, the 2020 wildfire season had, as of mid-October, killed more than 30 people, destroyed some 8,500 structures, and torched a record-breaking 4 million acres of land—double the acreage burned in 2018, the state’s second-worst wildfire season on record.”
And the journal also notes that the economic damage inflicted by these increasingly large wildfires has been just as catastrophic: “Federal wildfire suppression costs in the United States have spiked from an annual average of about $425 million from 1985 to 1999 to $1.6 billion from 2000 to 2019, according to data from the National Interagency Fire Center.”
And unfortunately, 2021 is unlikely to buck recent trends.
At the front lines of battling these blazes, of course, are firefighters going out to confront incredibly dangerous situations. In addition, wildland firefighting requires unique training and equipment, which creates a unique set of challenges for departments and personnel tasked with the job.
Departments and firefighters taking on these massive blazes need support and advocates to make sure their needs are met. And we are happy to announce that in California, we will be doing just that.
In conjunction with the 2021 wildfire season, the Firefighters & EMS Fund will be launching a local field office at 2945 Townsgate Road, Thousand Oaks, California.
Firefighters and EMS Fund is also currently engaged in projects to support local ballot measures and firefighter unions in need in the area.
Having this local base of operations will allow us to engage in projects specific to wildland firefighters and the unique issues they face in the western part of the country. From there, we will be able to engage with supporters and build a grassroots movement geared towards legislation benefiting the particular needs of these firefighters as well as continue to pass ballot measures in the area.
We are excited to launch this operation, as we continue to build upon our mission to create political change for the Fire & EMS communities, and the men and women who serve our communities in times of need.
Please visit firstresponderpoliticalaction.com to learn more about our activities at the Thousand Oaks field office as the year progresses.
The legacy of Covid-19 and the toll it has taken on emergency personnel will likely impact these services in the coming year and beyond. Our newest video, Covid-19 Effects on First Responders, explores the initial challenges faced by emergency personnel at the outset of the virus and the challenges we may see in the near future. Watch the video here.