Gov. Gavin Newsom signs $15 billion legislation near KNP Complex Fire

CBS47 News

TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KGPE)- As of the latest update, the KNP Complex Fire has burned more than 33,000 acres and remains 0% contained. On Thursday morning, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a $15 billion dollar climate package right in front of the Sequoia National Park sign now wrapped in protective foil.

“Traditions, lifestyles, people, places, wiped off the map. That’s what climate is about,” Newsom said. “We’re here mindful of that with the responsibility to do something about that.”

According to the state’s release, the $15 billion package includes:

  • $1.5 billion for wildfire resilience, like investments in fuel breaks and fuel reduction projects
  • $5.2 billion over three years for drought response like support for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure
  • $3.9 billion to help accelerate the state’s zero emission vehicle goals
  • $3.7 billion over three years to “build resilience against the state’s multi-faceted climate risks, including extreme heat and sea level rise.”
  • $1.1 billion to support climate smart agriculture

The KNP Complex Fire has received international attention as the Sequoia National Park is a place people all over the world have come to visit. Now, crews are working tirelessly to protect communities and historic trees.

“The reason I talk in terms of people and lifestyles and traditions, I’m being a little selfish. I was here as a kid. They’re wrapping a tree. They’re wrapping a tree,” Newsom said. “Think about that. How can that be?”

Clay Jordan, the superintendent at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, said 1,500 federal, state and local personnel are working the fire, adding that while the conditions Thursday keep aircraft from flying to combat the fire, it helps firefighters on the ground.

“We have been seeing some benefits from the smoke inversions and while that makes it very uncomfortable for us up in the mountain communities and down in the valley to breathe this smoke, it also indicates that there’s not a whole lot of ventilation of the fire so it keeps the intensity low, that gives firefighters the chance to kind of catch up and to make some gains,” Jordan said.

Jordan added that the wrapping on the sign and some of the trees is a high-tech wrap comprised of aluminum foil and fiberglass, in addition to other materials.

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