Wildfire and Native Plants

Firestorm. Credit Bowman.

Wildfire is part of natural California.

Fire is a process that has helped maintain the balance of California’s ecosystems for millenia. But expanding development and habitat depletion make fire a complicated and daunting force to address. Today, scientists and planners must come together to address this increasingly complex and nuanced challenge.

North or south?

At CNPS, this is the key question for us. The location of wildfires significantly impacts our response. From an ecological standpoint, most of Northern California faces a fire deficit. Restoring natural fire regimes is a key goal in the Sierra Nevada. Prescribed fire and managed wildfire in Northern California must be part of effective, long-term forest management strategies. Still, we must do everything we can to prevent wildfire in populated areas, where life and property exacerbate its toll. Recent tragedies like the Wine Country fires require thoughtful recovery and planning to minimize future impact to humans and natural resources.

Most of Southern California, however, is experiencing a fire excess. Southland wildfires occur with unnatural frequency because there are more people to start them than ever before. Even controlled burns can threaten sensitive chaparral, habitat we cannot afford to lose. What’s more, wildfire on steep slopes in populated areas like Santa Barbara County can create devastating consequences like mudslide and erosion.

CNPS is focused on providing the most current and helpful information possible for Californians. More than ever, Californians need support and reliable, science-based resources.

Hi intensity fire
Hi intensity fire. Credit Wendy Trowbridge.

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CNPS Fire Updates & Information

CNPS Fire Recovery Guide cover.
CNPS Fire Recovery Guide cover.

A Guide to Fire Recovery

Download a free copy of this 92-page guide to property recovery across California.

Oaks in Winter Mist
Oaks in Winter Mist. Credit Ger Erickson,

Adopt an Oak

In the wake of the 2017 fires, CNPS launched an ambitious effort to restore the region’s oaks. The movement is growing statewide. Get involved!

Fremontia Vol 38 Number 2 and 3 cover.
Fremontia Vol 38 Number 2 and 3 cover.

Fremontia Fire Issue

The 2010 special issue of Fremontia is especially relevant today. Stay tuned for updates coming soon.