Fire Mitigation Soon Underway at Irvine’s Bommer Canyon Preserve

Fire Mitigation Soon Underway at Irvine’s Bommer Canyon Preserve

The scenic Bommer Canyon, part of the Irvine Open Space Preserve, is ideal for leisurely hikes and nature walks. (Courtesy of Destination Irvine)

Rudy Blalock

Rudy Blalock

8/16/2023

Updated: 12/30/2023

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The Irvine Ranch Conservancy in Southern California will begin efforts to reduce the risk of fire at the Bommer Canyon Preserve this month after it received a $1 million state grant in October, at the request of Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris.
Funding will also go toward restoring a 50-acre portion of the preserve, according to conservancy officials.
According to CalFIRE, parts of Irvine are already at very high risk of fire including the reserve.
“I’m proud to be working with the City of Irvine to invest in a proactive plan to mitigate wildfire risks and fire-related air pollution with initiatives like the Bommer Canyon project,” the assemblywoman said in an October statement when first announcing the funds.
Officials from the conservancy said the preserve—located south of Shady Canyon Drive—has become overrun with non-native grasses and weeds which pose a fire hazard. A portion of the grant will replace them with native vegetation that’s less flammable, beginning in October 2025, after the conversancy has prepared the land.
Robert Freese, the conservancy’s restoration and enhancement program manager, told the Orange County Register that the conservancy will mostly seed what’s known as coastal sage scrub, which include sagebrush, buckwheat, black sage, and assorted wildflowers—such as gum plant and lupine.
The project will also plant native species to serve as fire breaks along drainageways, conservancy officials said.
Native oak and elderberry trees will also be planted near the Bommer Meadow Trail, offering shade to visitors. Mowing, and the installation of fencing and an irrigation system to accelerate the “grow and kill,” cycles of the current vegetation and kill off weeds, will begin this month.
The project is expected to be completed by March 2026, but the conservancy will continue to monitor the site for five years after to ensure the new vegetation is sustainable, they said.
“Since many visitors recreate at Bommer Canyon Preserve, our team will be reaching out to the community through signage and educational materials to explain the many benefits of the project as it unfolds,” Mr. Freese said.
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Rudy Blalock

Rudy Blalock

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Rudy Blalock is a Southern California-based daily news reporter for The Epoch Times. Originally from Michigan, he moved to California in 2017, and the sunshine and ocean have kept him here since. In his free time, he may be found underwater scuba diving, on top of a mountain hiking or snowboarding—or at home meditating, which helps fuel his active lifestyle.

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