10 Days, $130 Million in Fire Costs

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An eye-popping reality check this afternoon on the cost to fight wildfires in California: the state Department of Finance says total costs in the first 10 days of July alone were $129.5 million.

About half that amount... $65.4 million... has been paid for through the state's special reserve fund. The rest has been charged to what's effectively a state-controlled credit card, allowing firefighting needs to be met without delay.

What's really staggering is that it appears the new expenses can be added to those racked up to fight these fires before July 1. The earlier costs were attributed to the budget year that ended on midnight June 30. That estimate was $62 million.

So the grand total for the vast firefighting task in northern California these last few weeks to looks to be almost $192 million. For some context... that's close to half the amount spent in all of last year by the state on fires. And that almost one third of last year's total in just the first 10 days of July.

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About John Myers

John Myers is senior editor of KQED's new California Politics & Government Desk. He has covered California politics for most of the past two decades, serving previously as Sacramento bureau chief for KQED News and most recently as political editor for KXTV News10 (ABC) in Sacramento. In 2014, he was named one of the nation's top statehouse reporters by The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter @johnmyers.

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