In Southern California, the wildfire season extends from late spring through early fall, encompassing a significant portion of the year. However, it is crucial to understand that the threat of large fires looms throughout the year, primarily due to wind events like the well-known Santa Ana winds and drought levels within our local environment. Adding to the already imminent threat, experts are predicting that this year’s fire season might be delayed and worsened. Southern California’s wet winter led to an abundance of vegetation growth, which is now drying out and turning into fuel for fires, heightening the risk.
Here are some wildfire preparedness tips from the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA):
- Stay alert and up-to-date during Red Flag Warnings
- Eliminate wildfire hazards near homes, especially during the peak season
- Maintain vegetation on your property
- Know when to evacuate
- Always have an evacuation plan if you live in wildfire-prone areas
To learn more about how to prepare for a wildfire event, visit OCFA.org/RSG. Orange County residents are also encouraged to sign up for emergency notifications on AlertOC.org.
Additionally, IRC and its partners have multiple programs in place to help reduce the risk, stop the spread and study the impacts of wildfires in the area. Working alongside OC Parks, City of Irvine, City of Newport Beach and OCFA, IRC helps run the Orange County Fire Watch program. This program helps reduce catastrophic wildfires through education, early reporting and deterrence. Trained Fire Watch volunteers are deployed during Red Flag events and are stationed along roadsides near fire-prone open spaces to help catch wildfires early. IRC’s efforts towards land restoration and enhancement also support habitat resiliency, strengthening the overall health of the native environment and reducing the likelihood that they will succumb to fire. Additionally, IRC, Crystal Cove Conservancy and Crystal Cove State Park work together every year to bring back the Fire Ecology Internship. This internship program provides local high school students with hands-on scientific research experience in studying the impact of wildfires on ecosystems and open spaces throughout Orange County.
If you are interested in helping with IRC’s efforts to reduce wildfires please visit IRConservancy.org. To stay up to date on information and events visit LetsGoOutside.org or follow the Landmarks on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.