By Adrienne Moore

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Cal Fire is facing a major staffing shortage ahead of fire season.

Some say the shortage is tied to mental health, and now a state senator is sponsoring a bill to reduce stress and increase fire safety.

READ MORE: Getting Answers: What Do Increased Releases From Folsom Dam Mean For Region's Water Levels?

Year-round fire seasons, and 30- and 60-day deployments, it’s the new wildfire reality, and some say it’s taking a toll.

“It’s impacting the mental health of Cal Fire firefighters,” said Senator Mike McGuire.

He is one of four co-authors of the Fixing The Firefighter Shortage Act.

READ MORE: 'This Isn't Going To Hold Us Back': Drag Event In Woodland Stopped Over Alleged Threats Of Violence

The bill calls for $220 million to beef up staff and reduce extended overtime. It cites 54,000 calls to mental health hotlines in the past four years from firefighters.

“Firefighters are a proud bunch. They never want to talk about their mental health,” McGuire said. “But I got to tell you this: we are in dire straights. More firefighters died of suicide across America last year than on-the-job deaths.”

If passed, the bill would fund more than 1,100 additional firefighters, 18 more engine crews and a year-long study to figure out staffing needs in the future.

“The women and men of Cal Fire are tired. They’re tired. They’re stressed,” McGuire said. “We have to fix the shortage, and shame on us if we ignore it for another year.”

MORE NEWS: California Lawmakers Demand Accountability After Personal Info Of Concealed Weapons Holders Leaked

The goal is to pass the bill and hire those extra firefighters within sixty days.

Adrienne Moore