Reducing Risks of Wildfires
The State of California has seen more frequent and more intense wildfires in recent years. This is due to a combination of factors including drought, human activity in areas that border wildlands, longer summers, a history of natural fire suppression, a shortage of water resources, and rising temperatures due to climate change.
A wildfire is an uncontrolled, non-structure fire in the wilderness (such as a forest, valley, or grassland) that can consume a large area rather quickly (Firewise, 1998). Wildfires can be the result of both human and natural activity, with almost 90% of fires in the United States caused by humans. Human activity such as unattended campfires, the burning of trash, and discarded lit cigarettes are several common causes that lead to fires. Natural causes, like lightning and the shifting conditions that come with climate change can also lead to wildfires.
Wildfires can also be a natural process to clear out old vegetation growth and allow for certain fire dependent plants to grow and evolve with changing plant and animal diversity. Check out the Natural Fire Cycle for more information.
The Open Space Authority is taking preventative steps to reduce the risk of wildfires occurring and spreading over the preserves by creating a fuel management plan and policy. This plan will be a part of the Authority’s vegetation management program and will incorporate our resource management goals to enhance native plant diversity and reduce invasive plants.