This summer’s relentless California wildfires have claimed at least a dozen lives and destroyed more than 1,200 homes. But along with the loss of life and property, the blazes have also taken a tremendous toll on taxpayers and the state’s huge tourism industry.
In less than two months, California has nearly wiped out the emergency wildfire funds set aside for the entire fiscal year, spending about $405 million out of the nearly $443 million allocated.
Tourism officials, meanwhile, have complained that televised images of the wildfires are deterring visitors, especially international travelers.
“We haven’t had a break,” said Scott McLean, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. “One fire is coming close to the end and another one starts right up. It’s been a revolving door for our firefighters … and it’s definitely going to get into the funds.”
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