Fire management actions are guided by the park's Fire Management Plan and the policies of the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy. In the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) the Wildfire Management Program protects both its Mediterranean ecosystem and its local communities by working to have fewer wildfires and burned homes and less fire-related ecosystem disturbance. To do this, the park works together with Ventura County Fire Department, Los Angeles County Fire Department and Los Angeles City Fire Department through local agreements, the CA Fire Protection Agreement, and the CA Fire Assistance Agreement to suppress fires in the Recreation Area under the Incident Command System.
Today, however, fires in the Santa Monica Mountains (SMM) are caused almost exclusively by human activities. The frequency of fires has increased along with population growth in southern California and the interval between fires has shortened. The SMM shrubland ecosystems are sensitive to short fire return intervals and increasing fire frequency. Native shrub species can be killed when burned or disturbed without enough time to recover between fires or disturbances influencing fire ecology. When this occurs, native shrublands may be 'type converted' to degraded shrublands, dominated by non-native annual grasses and exotic weeds.
The local communities in the SMMNRA have an essential role in protecting our natural areas. The Park's Fire Management program provides fire education, fire suppression and fire prevention to assist communities in taking constructive actions to protect their homes and beautiful wildlands and to lessen damaging wildfires in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Download the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area's Fire Management Plan (1.9 MB)
Download the Community Wildfire Protection Plan (PDF - 11.2 MB)
Did You Know?
A study that began in 2002 reveals a lion and his offspring are surviving in the Santa Monica Mountains. Radio collars track them crossing roads and navigating through open spaces. Their future is uncertain, but with conservation efforts, they may continue to make these mountains their home.