Through the study of fire ecology, IRC staff seek to better understand the impact of wildfires on local plant and animal communities. Historically, wildfires have played an important role in the structure of Southern Californian ecosystems, likely occurring every 40-100 years, and many native plants have developed adaptations that allow them to survive these events. Unfortunately, wildfire occurrences have become more frequent, primarily due to ignitions from roadways and utility infrastructure among other human causes. Toofrequent fires hinder native plant populations from rebounding following a fire, creating conditions for invasive species to move in.
IRC staff continue to study fire ecology and how native species on the Landmarks are impacted by wildfire events. The number of wildfire occurrences and other natural disturbances on the land, such as drought conditions, are some of the factors that help IRC understand how to best approach restoration efforts. IRC staff and partners at UCI are currently studying active restoration sites and how the 2020 Silverado and Bond fires affected those areas as well as their recovery process over time.
For more information about Irvine Ranch Conservancy and fire prevention on the Landmarks, visit IRConservancy.org or follow the Landmarks on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.