Irvine Ranch Conservancy’s Dedication to Wildfire Prevention

Irvine Ranch Conservancy’s Dedication to Wildfire Prevention
Photograph courtesy of Irvine Ranch Conservancy

The first Saturday in May is Wildfire Community Preparedness Day, a national campaign to reduce the frequency and severity of wildfires. Orange County’s two major fires last year burned a third of the land that the Irvine Ranch Conservancy manages, including Limestone Canyon and two restoration projects the conservancy had worked on for more than a decade. “Wildfire is the single greatest threat to the long-term health of these plants,” says Michael O’Connell, the conservancy’s president and CEO. “These lands are adapted to burning once every 70 to 100 years. They’re currently burning every seven to 10 years.” The organization has a dedicated Fire Watch program, which monitors areas prone to wildfires during Santa Ana winds, Red Flag Warning days, and other days with potential fire danger such as the 4th of July.

5 million
Number of people visiting conservancy landmarks yearly

40,000
Acres of land the group manages

360
Number of trained volunteers in the OC Fire Watch program

100
Feet of brush clearance recommended around structures

99
Percent of wildfires caused by humans, mostly ignited along roadways

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