LA Times has one of those stories where the words paint a lovely picture and the picture is worth a thousand words - about how drought-tolerant succulents are fire-retardant enough to protect homes in the path of a Southern California wildfire. The fire may cook the water laden exterior leaves but not enough to dry and burn them. Hence, the fire, out of fuel, just stops.
Aloe arborescens, native to South Africa, grows throughout Southern California; dense plantings of it rim the cliffs of coastal communities. Here's the money quote:
The reason has to do with the plants' "simplicity of maintenance," Vanderhoff says. "People are spending less time in their gardens, and succulents are less fussy than annuals and perennials. They also have a lesser need for water and fertilizer, so they're more 'green.' And they're very sculptural and artistic. Succulents provide drama with their structure, leaves, colors . . . they're very expressive plants."
Via::Los Angeles Times, "THE CALIFORNIA GARDEN, Did succulents save her home?"