The Los Angeles County Fire Department has maintained a strategy to manage chaparral at the wildland-urban interface thru the use of prescription fire. The wildland-urban interface occurs where large natural areas border human communities. A fire’s prescription is the window within which a fire may be ignited. These conditions maximize the ability to control the fire and minimize smoke in local communities. These fires are intentionally set to meet certain objectives and achieve specific goals. The timing and scheduling of these fires depends on a variety of factors, including fuel conditions, weather, air quality and other events occurring in the county. Prescribed fires helps reduce heavy fuel loads. Fire is also used to enhance native plant communities, cultural landscapes, and improve wildlife habitat. Another goal is to provide defensible space for communities and developed areas where firefighters may have a chance to protect life and property during a wildfire. The strategy encompasses historic wildfire frequency and Santa Ana wind corridors combined with scientific validation.
This wildland-urban interface area has always been a major focus for fire management in Los Angeles County. Hazardous fuels reduction to reduce wildland fire hazards and education about fire safety and fire ecology are high priorities. Fuels reduction and fire education are aimed at reversing trends of increased human-caused ignitions, losses of homes, and damage to natural and cultural resources.
The goals of the Los Angeles County Fire Department Prescribed Fire & Fuels Management Program are:
The Prescribed Fire & Fuels Office currently has approximately 12,000 acres planned for treatment in 2005-2006 and is consistently searching out projects that have validity and will provide for the ultimate goal of protecting life and property.