Fuel Modification

We work with the City of Laguna Beach to ensure that fire safety measures are accomplished while protecting both habitat and aesthetic values.


Current Status: In Progress | Start Date: August 2015 | Expected Completion: Ongoing | Project Lead: Alan Kaufmann

Laguna Canyon Foundation has partnered with the City of Laguna Beach Fire Department (LBFD) to implement and maintain multiple fuel modification projects in the Nyes Canyon, Oro Canyon and Hobo Canyon areas. The initial treatment phase of the Nyes-Oro Canyon project was completed in June 2016 and planning work for the Hobo Canyon project is currently underway.

In August 2018, LBFD and LCF received a large grant from the California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection to plan and implement additional fuel modification efforts in Laguna Canyon. LCF is also working with the LBFD to identify and evaluate additional high-priority areas around the City of Laguna Beach for possible future fuel modification efforts.

These projects showcase a “kinder, gentler” method of achieving fire safety objectives than creating wide-open fuel breaks or clearing an area using goats, which can impact native plants, cause erosion, and spread invasive plant species. Instead, specially-trained and closely-supervised hand crews are used to remove ladder fuels and non-native, dead, or dying vegetation and thin remaining vegetation where necessary in order to reduce potential fire behavior. This allows us to maintain native vegetative cover, protect rare plant species, and reduce the potential for erosion or weed problems. These methods protect wildlife habitat and aesthetic values to the greatest extent possible, while providing an additional measure of safety to at-risk neighborhoods and to firefighters in case a wildfire were to occur.

Laguna Canyon Foundation coordinates pre-project planning and neighbor outreach, educates contractor crews, directs contractor work in the field, conducts photo monitoring and sensitive species protection measures, and ensures that the work is completed to the necessary standards. We also oversee ongoing maintenance work once initial treatment is complete.