What is wildfire?
A wildfire, wildland fire or rural fire is an uncontrolled fire in an area of combustible vegetation occurring in rural areas. Los Angeles County faces wildland fire threats due to its topography, rainfall patterns and fire-adapted vegetation.
Which parts of LA County are affected by wildfires?
While all of California is subject to some degree of fire hazard, there are specific features that make some areas more hazardous. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) is required by law to map areas of significant fire hazards based on fuels, terrain, weather, and other relevant factors. These zones, referred to as Fire Hazard Severity Zones (FHSZ), influence how people construct buildings and protect property to reduce risk associated with wildland fires.
Los Angeles County faces wildland fire threats due to its topography, rainfall patterns and fire-adapted vegetation. The at-risk areas designated as FHSZs in the unincorporated areas are classified as Very High, High, and Moderate in State Responsibility Areas and Very High in Local and Federal Responsibility Areas. The Forestry Division of the Los Angeles County Fire Department assists and supports the implementation of the CAL FIRE FHSZ model designation in Los Angeles County.
How do I find out if I am in a wildfire hazard area?
Search our GIS mapping platform to see if your property is located within a Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone.
How do wildfires affect residents and communities?
Wildfires can cause devastation to lives, property, and community morale. It is imperative that preparation and prevention take place not only at the individual resident level but also at a community level. Lessons learned from past wildfires have shown that communities that took the initiative to harden homes and create defensible space as a group were more likely to be spared from ignition. The concept of “group immunity”, where every house on the block implements these measures, decreases the chances of preventing homes from igniting.
This LA Times article provides information on why group immunity is necessary for prevention.
How does climate change affect wildfires?
While wildfires are a natural part of California’s landscape, the fire season in California and across the West is starting earlier and ending later each year. Climate change is considered a key driver of this trend. Warmer spring and summer temperatures, reduced snowpack, and earlier spring snowmelt create longer and more intense dry seasons that increase moisture stress on vegetation and make forests more susceptible to severe wildfire. The length of fire season is estimated to have increased by 75 days across the Sierras and seems to correspond with an increase in the extent of forest fires across the state. (Source: CAL FIRE)
What is Los Angeles County doing to prepare for wildfires?
|Fire||Brush clearance, defensible space, and fuel modification|
|Public Works||Specific building code requirements within a Wildland-Urban Interface Fire Area|
|Regional Planning||Access road requirements for fire equipment access and public evacuation, Fire-protection access easements|
What can I do to prepare for wildfires?
Residents can prepare for future wildfire events by being up to date on emergency preparedness protocols. Residents can also prepare in advance by hardening their homes and creating defensible space through proper brush clearance and maintenance of vegetation.
Check out these resources:
Ready!Set!Go! – Preparation and prevention go hand-in-hand. This Ready! Set! Go! brochure was designed to provide you with critical information on creating defensible space around your home, retrofitting your home with fire-resistant materials, and preparing you to safely evacuate well ahead of a wildfire.