$43M In California Fire Prevention Money Goes Unspent

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - A state fire prevention account has ended recent fiscal years with tens of millions of dollars unspent despite bone-dry conditions across much of California's wildland area. The Sacramento Bee reports Sunday the state ended the fiscal year in June with an estimated $43 million in fee money left over for fire prevention. The state collected more than $300 million through June from more than 800,000 property owners who pay a fire prevention fee. Most of them pay $117.33 a year for each habitable structure. Property owners in parts of the foothills east of Sacramento, as well as those in communities such as Shingle Springs, Georgetown and Pollock Pines, have been subject to the charge. Officials say they have proceeded cautiously in spending the prevention fee money because they were not sure how much money the charge would bring in.