California fire chiefs seek money to prepare for wildfires

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California fire chiefs say reinforcements were too slow to arrive in last year's ferocious firestorms.

They asked state lawmakers Wednesday for $100 million to call in extra firefighters and dispatchers when weather conditions are ripe for a conflagration.

The fire chiefs say drought and climate change will cause longer, more severe fire seasons, and the state's "mutual aid" system for sharing resources across departments can't keep up.

Santa Rosa Fire Chief Tony Gossner said it took 12 to 24 hours before fire crews began arriving from outside the area when a series of fires swept rapidly through Sonoma and Napa counties.

He says bringing in extra firefighters and engines before the blazes broke out might have allowed them to keep the fires small.

Those fires killed 44 people.

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Photo: Getty Images

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