We had been walking for only a few minutes when Scott Culbertson stopped in front of a field of twisted, blackened bark. “I haven’t been here since the fire,” the executive director of the Friends of Ballona Wetlands told me, scowling at the destruction from behind dark sunglasses. Three months ago, this spot in the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve in Playa del Rey had been a stand of native willow trees and other vegetation where endangered songbirds would nest. Then, one sunny afternoon, a brush fire broke out and scorched five acres before firefighters could put it out.
-Written by Erika Smith, LA Times columnist.