California OKs new spending on drought, wildfire prevention

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In this Sept.1, 2021, file photo, a firefighter lights a backfire to stop the Caldor Fire from spreading near South Lake Tahoe. California lawmakers have approved more than $2 billion in new spending aimed at preventing wildfires and addressing the drought. The votes Thursday, Sept. 9, mark the end of lawmakers' work on the state's $262.5 billion operating budget this year. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
Adam Beam The Associated Press SACRAMENTO (AP) – California lawmakers Thursday, Sept. 9, voted to spend more than $2 billion to prevent wildfires and address a severe drought, closing the book – for now – on a $262.5 billion operating budget that began the year with a record deficit because of the pandemic and ended with a record surplus in spite of it. Wildfire spending in California has more than tripled since 2005, surpassing $3 billion last year. But most of that money is spent on putting out fires, not preventing them. That strategy hasn’t been working now that fires are larger than ever and more difficult to put out. Fifteen of the state’s most destructive wildfires have occurred in the last 10 years. Five of the largest wildfires in state history happened just
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