AUBURN (CBS13) — Cal Fire reached peak staffing levels to respond to wildfire season in the last two weeks, but staffing shortages discussed by the union president and state lawmakers still exist.

Peak staffing refers to the allotted staffing allowed for peak fire season in the Cal Fire budget, not the number of firefighters or crews needed, according to union President Tim Edwards.

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Edwards said Cal Fire stations and teams are staffed at max capacity, in many cases, based on staffing numbers that are outdated and don’t reflect the types of fire seen in modern times. He said Cal Fire spokespeople correctly say they are at “peak staffing” but it does not reflect the greater need of more firefighters.

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“We can no longer be at the back of 19th century staffing levels,” said Edwards.

A Cal Fire spokesperson told CBS13 units work together to ensure all the needs of each community is met.

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In a CalMatters investigation, last year 10% of Cal Fire’s permanent, non-seasonal workforce quit. The same report showed 691 firefighters and other personnel left in 2021, which was nearly twice the average of the previous four years, according to numbers provided to CalMatters via Cal Fire spokesperson Chris Amestoy.