The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) is responsible for fire protection within State Responsibility Areas (SRA). SRA is found in 56 of California's 58 counties and totals more than 31 million acres.
In most cases SRA is protected directly by CAL FIRE, however, in Kern, Los Angeles, Marin, Orange, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, SRA fire protection is provided by the counties under contract with CAL FIRE. Known as "Contract Counties", they protect 3.4 million acres of SRA.
CAL FIRE provides funding to the six counties for fire protection services including wages of suppression crews, lookouts, maintenance of fire fighting facilities, fire prevention assistants, pre-fire management positions, dispatch, special repairs, and administrative services. The Department's budget also provides for infrastructure improvements, and expanded fire fighting needs when fires grow beyond initial attack.
Contract Counties are responsible for providing initial response to fires on SRA. When a wildland fire escapes this initial attack, CAL FIRE responds with fire fighting resources to assist the county.
Currently, the state funds 68 fire stations, 82 fire engines, 12 bulldozers, 10 fire prevention officers, and portions of the 6 emergency command centers in the six counties.
CAL FIRE continues to provide other services to Contract Counties including urban forestry grants, support during earthquakes, floods, and other disasters, and the services of California State Fire Marshal which was consolidated into CAL FIRE in 1995.