Species such as Monterey, Bishop, and Knobcone pines have adapted to produce pine cones which hold seeds locked by a resinous coating that is melted away by fire (Baker 1971).
Following a fire the seeds are released and benefit from improved growing conditions such as available sunlight, a seedbed of bare mineral soil, and nutrients released from organic matter cleared by the fire.
The presence of fire in the landscape has been one of the major evolutionary factors determining the composition of flora throughout the state and around the world.
Natural causes of fire range from lightning, sparks from falling rocks, volcanic activity, and the spontaneous combustion of plant materials and other organic matter (Barbour, Burk, & Pitts 1980).
A combination of ignorance and several million years of evolution have combined to create a deadly situation along the serene and scenic battlefront commonly referred to as the 'wildland/urban interface'.
The situation has been further exacerbated by over a hundred years of fire suppression where man has tried to control nature, usually with disastrous results.
However, of these, lightning is the most influential factor in almost all regions of the world as lightning strikes the earth an average of 100 times a second totaling over 3 billion strikes a year (Barbour, Burk, & Pitts 1980).