At the end of the Los Angeles Times article on May 4, 2013 concering the Springs Fire in the Santa Monica Mountains, a telling revelation: land planning, not massive habitat clearance operations make the difference.
“Both Dettorre and Lindberry said good urban planning was also an important factor this week. Ventura County has long required strict setbacks for fire protection measures for developments. These created important barriers that helped prevent flames from reaching subdivisions.
Lindberry said that’s one reason the Dos Vientos neighborhood in Newbury Park, which appeared besieged on multiple sides by flames Thursday, suffered virtually no damage.
Strict growth controls in the county have also proved helpful for firefighters.
Officials in the 1970s adopted a plan of keeping nearly all commercial and residential development within the boundaries of Ventura County’s 10 cities. That created greenbelt buffers between the cities and limited the growth of residential tracts on unincorporated land. Several major Ventura County fires burned large amounts of open space but spared neighborhoods. The massive wildfire in 2003 burned 172,000 acres but destroyed only 38 structures.
“Because of our history, we know where our fires are going to go,” Dettorre said.”
Below is the image of the Springs Fire. A classic. The fire starts next to a road (flame symbol) and then burns all the way to the ocean.