They were a big deal in our landscape architecture businsess, a couple of those in the general Los Angeles area. It started with our schooling re the right plants but also with city and fire department advisories. One of my clients, in the Malibu area (near the ocean) had a fairly large acreage, and was lucky that the fire stopped just before the house, stopped by a large planting of the one of the tallest Oleander trees. She called me after that, re replanting; she was an interesting woman, wrote a book about manatees, my friend as a fellow taker of adult learning italian classes.
When I was still at university, the Bel Air fire got to within five blocks from our house - scary stuff. So, yes, I'm pretty tuned in to fire stories. Also their aftermath in some areas: massive mud slides after the rains come around.
There are things to do re your house for protection, but I don't remember all of it right now.
It was less of a deal when I moved to coastal northern California, but that was just an area that was in better shape, fire wise, than my southern California experience. There are fires in New Mexico too, but I know less about that. So far, so good.
Edit - there was a good booklet put out by a fire expert, Klaus Radke, but it is likely out of date by now. Lots of useful advice.