OC Fire Watch is a team of dedicated volunteers, devoted to standing watch over Orange County wilderness parks and open lands during hazardous fire weather and Red Flag Alerts and Warnings. These volunteers receive basic training in fire behavior, observation methods and techniques, map reading, and fire response systems.
OC Fire Watch volunteers individually staff one of many pre-designated stationary post assignments, highly visible to the public, and provide another set of eyes to watch for signs of developing wild fires. They also greet the public enjoying the vast open lands and spaces of OC Parks, and educate them on the dangers of and how to prevent destructive wildfires.
OC Parks owns and manages nearly 60,000 acres of parks, historical and coastal facilities and open space for the County of Orange, as part of OC Community Resources. The OC Fire Watch Program is administered through the OC Parks Adopt-A-Park Program.
The geographical areas covered by the program include Orange County Wilderness and Regional Parks identified as having the most risk for wildfires. These parks include Aliso and Wood Canyons, Caspers, Laguna Coast, O’Neill, Riley, Limestone Canyon and Whiting Ranch, as well as Irvine, Peters, Yorba, and Carbon Canyon.
For more information on becoming an OC Fire Watch volunteer, please click here.
If you are interested in volunteering for OC Fire Watch, or would like additional information, please contact:
Volunteer Services Coordinator Matthew Le, (714) 566-3067 or
Supervising Park Ranger Kevin McKeown, (714) 973-6843
The initial orientation meeting will be provided by the OC Parks Volunteer Coordinator and the training session will be provided by OC Parks rangers. The two sessions will last approximately two hours each. Among the areas covered will be safety, communications procedures, map reading, and how to recognize and report potentially dangerous situations.
After completing the training, each volunteer may be issued the following items: tan t-shirts with the OC Fire Watch logo, ball caps with logos, photo ID card with neck lanyard, Fire Watch vests, Fire Watch car magnets, Fire Watch manuals, and ready bags to hold your supplies.
Patrol Routes and Shifts
OC Fire Watch does not participate in any roving patrols, or driving routes. During a Fire Watch deployment, volunteers may select one of over 25 pre-established stationary observation posts, located throughout eleven participating OC Parks facilities.
Shifts can vary from three to up to eight hours per deployment, dependent on the duration of the expected Red Flag event. Typical shifts are: 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Shift times can vary depending on time of the year (PDT or Daylight Saving Time), number of available volunteers, and nature of the actual alert or warning. Although volunteers can serve more or less time during their deployments, the volunteer services coordinator will always attempt to provide the best coverage throughout the various parks as possible. When possible, each manned stationary post is staffed with at least two OC Fire Watch volunteers.