Strategically hosted on Wildfire Community Preparedness Day, May 5, Irvine Ranch Conservancy and the Orange County Fire Watch program hosted the 2018 Fire Watch Symposium. During the program, symposium partners including the Orange County Fire Authority, National Weather Service, and OC Parks came together to share presentations with Fire Watch volunteers and the local community to raise awareness for wildfires and wildfire prevention.
“Everybody walked away with a piece of information they didn’t have before” commented Fire Watch Program Coordinator Tony Pointer. “Wildfires are a major threat to our community and open spaces. Joining the Fire Watch program and being able to assist firefighters is a really great way to protect the lands so many people enjoy,” Pointer continued.
Managed by Irvine Ranch Conservancy, the Fire Watch program is designed to reduce the rate of human-caused wildland fires by monitoring potential ignition sources, especially during extreme weather conditions and high-risk circumstances. Highly-trained volunteers patrol the perimeters of high-risk areas in Orange County, acting as visual deterrents, and reporting suspicious or dangerous behaviors or activities. Volunteers are vital to early detection and reporting of ignitions.
Although fire is a natural part of Orange County’s ecosystem, the fire cycle over the last century has increased due to human caused ignitions, dry weather conditions, and strong Santa Ana winds. This increased frequency has not allowed native plants to fully recover, which means the land can get overtaken by invasive and more flammable plants and grasses.
Orange County residents can do their part to prevent wildfires by joining the Fire Watch program. For more information about how to join the Fire Watch program visit www.LetsGoOutside.org/FireWatch.