California budget seeks more firefighters, fire protection

California Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to hire more state firefighters and make low-income communities safer from devastating wildfires in the budget he will send to state lawmakers on Friday.

It's part of what Newsom is touting as a $2 billion program to fight wildfires and other disasters. His office tells The Associated Press the 555 more firefighters would be hired over five years.

That would augment more than 4,800 current permanent firefighters. California also hires seasonal firefighters during peak danger periods when winds have driven fires into urban areas.

Wildfire threats prompted power companies to impose widespread blackouts last year.