Los Angeles County, California

The Woolsey Fire seen from above. (Photo courtesy of Peter Buschmann, US Forest Service)

Since 1933, four of the top 20 deadliest wildfires in California have been located in Los Angeles County. Since 2007, wildland fires burned over 300,000 acres and destroyed nearly 650 residences in the county. In 2018, the Woolsey Fire burned 96,949 acres across two counties, destroyed 1,121 residential and commercial structures and damaged another 189 structures in Los Angeles County alone, and resulted in the deaths of three people. The County incurred approximately $52 million in fire suppression costs and estimates that the insured losses from the Woolsey Fire will total between $3 and $5 billion.

Alongside increasing wildfire risk is increasing demand for housing in Los Angeles County. With more than 10 million people, Los Angeles County is the most populated county in the country and Los Angeles is the second largest city in the country. More than 25 percent of California’s population lives in Los Angeles County, creating significant pressure to develop wildfire-prone lands.

Los Angeles County was selected as a CPAW community for 2020. Final recommendations to the county included:

  • Improve the development application review process.
  • Strengthen the fire hazard severity zone development conditions.
  • Update the county’s zoning and subdivision standards.
  • Strengthen wildfire policies in the General Plan.
  • Increase community fire adaptation tools, such as retrofit programs and increased outreach.

Snapshot

  • 2020 CPAW Community
  • Population: 10.2 million
  • Growth Rate (2000-2018): 6% 
  • Fuel Type: chaparral (coastal sage scrub), dry grasses, woodlands