There have been some terrible fires this year, it is a tragedy. Unfortunately, it may become the 'new normal' from what I have been reading. CA is suffering from long-term drought, that and fire suppression over the past few decades have coupled to make conditions for some terrible infernos. To make matters worse, these fires are being started by people. The fire by San Jacinto last month started on private property, I'm not saying it was arson, but it was not a lightning strike. Now Yosemite is burning. I'd bet it was started by SOMEbody, not lightning.
Unfortunately, these things are very expensive to put out and clean up. With large fires projected to become more common in the West, the expenses will only continue to mount. Perhaps fire fighting (wildlands fire) will make a good career for todays young people, I am not kidding. Like all things in life, someone has to pay for it. When governor brown took over a couple of years ago, he was facing a large budget problem. Basically, taxes were raised, Prop 30 last Fall raised taxes on everyone, and made the wealthy pay even more. Another clever tactic by the State lawmakers was to make everone who lives in an SRA pay $150/year to the State, an annual "fire fee", paid once every year. Thatenabled the state to take about $100 million from the CalFire budget and spend it elsewhere. It was gimmicks like this that enabledCA to get back onto a path of "fiscal responsibility". Another example was back in the 1980s California started the state lottery, where they touted that "our schools win too". but what really happened was that when the lottery money started rolling in, they took away money they usually gave to the schools and spent it elsewhere, and backfilled the budget with lottery $$, so that in the end the schools got about the same amount of money. Anyhow, today the rural residents are now paying the CalFire budget that was hollowed out last year and spent elsewhere. CalFire is the team that responds to wildlands fire like the one now burning in Yosemite.
I'd bet that if you ask any lawmaker in Sacramento though they'd say "yeah, we love our firefighters" but will not say we took their budget money away and started charging rural Californians for it now. That's how they "balance the budget". Just like they raise tuition every year at Cal state or UC, because the State has defunded education. They make the users pay. Just like Brown said last fall "you pass Prop 30 or I'm really gonna cut the schools" - he did say that. Now that the new tax revenues are rolling in are the schools richer? No, they just stopped cutting, that's it.
So I said all that to say this: the residents of Groveland are required to pay the state $150/yr fire fee now. Now that their city is charred, I guess they got their money's worth. Now that there's nothing left to burn will California say, it's Okay, you dont have to pay your fire fee next year? heck no, the state will still make them pay. Now many decades ago the city of SF went into the heart of the Yosemite and dammed Hetch Hetchy, and also put in power plants. Today SF is a very wealthy city, drinking pure water from Yosemite, and doing very well. A lot wealthier and better than the people of Groveland. In my opinion, yes, SF should step in and pay for the fire that has burned their watershed all the way to Hetch hetchy. Why should less affluent rural Californians have to pay for fire services whether they use it or not, and a big rich city get fire service for basically free? After all, this fire did burn to Hetch Hetchy, and it was created by and for San Francisco. It did not burn SF city, but it did burn up to one of their major assets, and a lot of money is being spent to extinguish it, and a lot more will be required to do some restoration to the watershed.
No, I dont live in Groveland or the SRA, nor do I live in
frisco. I lived in Santa Clara once. I don't have a dog in this fight, but I do marvel at how clever the lawmakers in
sacramento are, and how they miraculously balance their budget without telling the whole story. somebody is paying for this fire, and it's not the cities.