Fewer wildfires and more controlled burns — as well as the reintroduction of Indigenous burning practices that were aggressively stamped out by fire-suppression policies — may be the best path forward for the state, and will help create a mosaic of burned areas that could keep wildfires like the Dixie from spreading out of control, he added.
But transitioning into more of a “stewardship mode,” where fuel treatments are performed and maintained at scale, will require renewed effort and resources. Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday signed a $15-billion climate package, the largest such investment in state history, which will include about $1.5 billion toward wildfire response and forest resilience.
And President Biden’s expansive infrastructure bill, if passed, would allow for more than $3 billion for wildfire-risk reduction, including mechanical thinning, controlled burns, infrastructure projects and structural defense, all of which will most certainly be needed in the years to come.
The alternative to doing that work, multiple experts said, is a future of far more Dixie fires.