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NPS: Why Prescribed Burns Are A Bad Idea for The Santa Monica Mountains

posted Mar 7, 2019, 4:54 PM by Ryan Ulyate   [ updated Mar 20, 2019, 1:52 PM ]
With all the interest after the Woolsey Fire, the subject of "prescribed burns" has come up again. The Los Angeles County Fire Department is advocating for this in order to maintain fuel breaks in certain areas. There are differing views on whether this is a good idea. Here is the perspective of the National Park Service, which is responsible for much of the land in the Santa Monica Mountains.

From The National Park Service:

In the last forty years fire managers have promoted the idea that prescribed fire is necessary to protect ecosystems and communities by restoring fire's natural role in the environment to thin forest stands and to reduce hazardous fuels. This is true for western forests where the natural fire regime was frequent, low intensity surface fires started by lightning, and for many other ecosystems like southern longleaf pine forests, Florida palmetto scrub, and the Great Plains tall grass prairies. However, it is not true for the shrubland dominated ecosystems of Southern California and the Santa Monica Mountains