California fire agency requests $234M from state for firefighting budget

California fire agency requests $234M from state for firefighting budget

The California agency responsible for battling wildfires in the state says it needs $234 million more to effectively combat wildfires for the remainder of 2018.

Cal Fire director Ken Pimlott told state lawmakers in a letter Thursday that his agency only has $11 million remaining of its 2018 budget after it had spent $432 million so far this year, according to The Associated Press.

The agency's website currently recognizes 17 major wildfires burning across the state, with just one fully contained.

Some of the fires are being handled by local agencies and are not under Cal Fire's jurisdiction, according to the agency's website.

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Pimlott said in the letter Thursday that additional funds would be used to hire more firefighters and secure additional helicopters for his agency.

The AP noted that Cal Fire has requested additional funding in seven of the past 10 years, though the latest one has come earlier in the year than any previous requests.

One fire in the state has grown to more than 7 square miles as of Thursday, according to the AP, forcing the shutdown of a major highway and evacuation of a military base.

Another fire, the Mendocino Complex fire, grew to become the state's largest recorded wildfire in history in August, breaking a record set by the Thomas fire last year.

“We broke the record,” Cal Fire deputy chief Scott McLean said last month. “That’s one of those records you don’t want to see.”