The National Forest Foundation is hard at work to reduce the likelihood and severity of future wildfires in Southern California. With support from the Rivers and Mountains Conservancy (RMC) Wildfire Prevention Program, funded by the State of California Budget Act of 2020, the NFF is embarking on a multi-year forest health and fuel reduction project across the Angeles National Forest.

Despite the unprecedented precipitation in the region this past winter, wildfire remains a risk to Southern California’s National Forests. In 2020, the Bobcat Fire burned over 115,000 acres of the Angeles National Forest and threatened the Mt. Wilson Observatory.

Mt. Baldy on the Angeles National Forest. Photo by Jeremy Boggs.

Even after the fire was contained, it continued to cause damage. Without native vegetation to stabilize the soil, erosion, and mudslides triggered by recent storms resulted in so much debris flowing into local reservoirs that they now pose a flood risk to downstream communities.

Over the next several years, the NFF, the U.S. Forest Service, local contractors, the Los Angeles Conservation Corps (LACC), and the Conservation Corps of Long Beach (CCLB) will be working together on multiple high-priority projects to protect communities and recreation areas from the threat of wildfire.

Thanks to RMC funding, the NFF has already begun fuel reduction work in the Big Pines area along Highway 2. This will help safeguard the community of Wrightwood, Angeles National Forest campgrounds, and private camps throughout the San Gabriel Mountains from the threat of wildfire. Upcoming projects will focus on other critical areas, such as Mt. Baldy and Crystal Lake.

CCLB sawyer training. Photos by the NFF.

The scale of fuel reduction needed across the National Forest System is daunting, but thanks to a network of public and private partnerships, there are many opportunities to promote wildfire resilience. The NFF will continue to work with our partners at the CCLB and LACC to provide sawyer training and valuable work experience so their crews can build their capacity to help take on the challenge. This summer, the workers will learn crucial skills while protecting beloved campgrounds, picnic areas, and roads across the Angeles National Forest.

To support the NFF’s wildfire resilience work in Southern California, visit the Southern California Forest Fund.

Cover photo by Brian Cavallaro Photography.

National Forest Foundation