A small brush fire that was sparked when a vehicle Tuesday in Malibu is a fresh reminder that wildfires can start anytime.
While Tuesday's fire only spread to half an acre, one group is trying to fight against the next devastating fire by making sure plants native to the Santa Monica Mountains, such as oak trees and native grasses, stay healthy.
“The frequent fires we have now feed more fires, and the way to turn it around is to restore the native ecosystem,” said Cody Chappel, Wildland Restoration Manger with TreePeople, a nonprofit that brings together trees, people and technology to grow a sustainable future for the Los Angeles area.
Having more native plants in the mountains helps slow water evaporation and retain soil moisture, according to TreePeople.
Also, native trees and plants transpire, and increase atmospheric moisture, a natural help in the dry fire season.
“Even though we think of the chaparral and coastal sage as being a 'fire ecology,' without human impacts these ecosystems can go 100 years or more without burning,” Chappel said.
TreePeople has a number of restoration events in the coming weeks, including one at Malibu Creek State Park on Aug. 18. The event is set from 8:45 a.m. to noon.
For more information or to register to help visit TreePeople.com.