Climate in Crisis: MidPen Works to Fight Increasing Wildfires


Midpeninsula Open Space is celebrating 50 years of preserving the more than 65,000-acre greenbelt of public open space throughout the Santa Cruz Mountains.

It’s one of 36 biological hotspots in the world, meaning it contains a high amount of species diversity. But it is increasingly threatened by climate change and especially wildfires.

Leigh Ann Gessner, public affairs specialist with the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, says: “We’ve proactively increased these efforts because of the changing conditions we’re experiencing. So we are, through our wildfire resiliency program, doing a lot of work in the preserves doing vegetation management. That’s really aimed at making the forest healthy and making the landscape resilient to fire. So the work we’re doing will keep any fires that do occur, keep them low intensity, keep them low on the ground. Make sure these landscapes can recover and be resilient.”

Coty Sifuentes-Winter, senior management resource specialist, adds: “We want to make sure you are maintaining your defensible space. That is that 100 feet from your house making sure that it’s available for fire fighters. It’s a place for them to take a stand. We ask that people really think about hardening their homes. What that means is looking at your house and seeing where there may be some kinks in your chain of safety.”

Kari Hall has the full interview on why it’s important for the public to enjoy the Peninsula’s natural beauty and protect those areas in the video above.



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