Wildfire is a common feature of Southern California’s landscape, where vegetation communities like chaparral and evergreen forest have adapted to natural wildfire regimes. However, wildfires near developed areas are often highly managed. Fire suppression disrupts natural fire cycles and allows vegetation to build-up, supplying extra fuel to the eventual fire.
This map of fire frequencies (from 1876 to present) and fire perimeters by burn year (from 1975 to present) illustrates a pattern of larger fires in more recent seasons. It is one of many ways that scientists can examine wildfires. FIRMS, the Fire Information Resource Management System, allows users to browse a global map of satellite-detected fires. You can see recent fires in Los Angeles here.
Data source: Fire data from CA FIRE FRAP, Fire Perimeters ver. 2015. Retrieved from frap.fire.ca.gov. Fire frequency statistics: Chunyu Dong, UCLA.