Secretary Jewell to Visit California Wildland Fire Operations Center

Last edited 4/27/2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Tuesday, August 12, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell will visit the Northern California Geographic Area Coordination Center (North Ops) in Redding and nearby areas. Secretary Jewell will be joined by senior Interior, U. S. Forest Service, and CAL FIRE officials. She will meet with members of the interagency fire leadership team and employees and visit on-the-ground fuels management projects in the surrounding area. The Secretary will hold a news media conference at 1:00 pm PDT.

Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a State of Emergency in California with nearly a dozen significant wildfires burning, threatening California communities and forcing evacuations. The National Wildfire Preparedness Level was recently elevated to 4, on a scale of 1-5, due to the level of fire activity across multiple geographic areas and numbers of incident management teams and firefighting resources assigned. The Preparedness Level for the Northern California and Northwest geographic areas is at 5. This is due to the number of major incidents occurring within their respective areas that require firefighting assistance from other areas across the nation.

“California is experiencing a tough fire season – exacerbated by high temperatures and severe drought conditions that are being experienced across the West,” said Jewell. “We are confronting a new chapter in wildland fire management, with longer, drier, hotter and more intense wildfire seasons due, in part, to climate change. The number and intensity of large fires and the areas burned has increased several–fold in recent decades, presenting new challenges and requiring new strategies to better mobilize our resources and to support the brave men and women who fight these dangerous fires.”

During her visit, Secretary Jewell will underscore her support for the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy and the President's Fiscal Year 2015 budget proposal to change how fire suppression costs are budgeted to treat extreme fire seasons the way other emergency disasters are treated.

During her visit, the Secretary will tour the operational facilities at North Ops and will receive a briefing on the current fire situation. She will also visit the Whiskeytown area to see first-hand on-the-ground efforts to lessen the risks and impacts of future wildfires.

Sally Jewell, U.S. Secretary of the Interior
John Laird, California Secretary for Natural Resources
Jim Douglas, Director of the Interior Department's Office of Wildland Fire
Jim Kenna, State Director, Bureau of Land Management for California
Ken Pimlott, Director of CAL FIRE
Paige Boyer, Forest Service Assistant Regional Fire Director for North Operations

Press Conference at Northern California Geographic Area Coordination Center

Tuesday, August 12, 2014, at 1 pm PDT

Northern California Geographic Area Coordination Center
6101 Airport Road
Redding, CA

Media wishing to participate in the news conference should call 1888-395-5718 and use access code 34306#.

Credentialed members of the media interested in covering the event are encouraged to RSVP HERE by August 11, 2014, at 6:00 pm PDT