The Orange County Fire Watch program was designed to bring together volunteers and staff to provide early fire detection, deter arsonists, and help reduce the frequency of human-caused wildland fires, especially during high-risk circumstances and extreme weather conditions. Tony Pointer, OC Fire Watch Program Manager and IRC team member, kicked off the well-attended event and began the annual symposium by expressing gratitude for the existing 300 Fire Watch volunteers that deploy during Red Flag Warning days and explaining the work that they do.
Although some fires are caused by natural ignitions, like lightning strikes, human-started ignitions have become the leading cause of local wildfires. The increased frequency of wildfire occurring as a result of these human-started ignitions means native plants increasingly do not have enough time to fully recover between fire events. This creates conditions ideal for invasive and more flammable plants to dominate and degrade native habitats. For this reason, among many others, the OC Fire Watch program deploys its volunteers to try and prevent wildfire ignitions and decrease the frequency and severity of fire events.
Training for this program is provided by OCFA and IRC staff and includes fire behavior education, public interaction training and how to report fires. To view this year’s Fire Watch Symposium, visit IRNL’s YouTube. To learn more about the Orange County Fire Watch program and how to get involved, visit IRConservancy.org, LetsGoOutside.org or follow the Landmarks on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.