A rare succulent known as Verity's liveforever may have been completely wiped out in the Santa Monica Mountains during the Springs Fire in May, according to researchers.
Thefederally listed threatened plant species, which goes by the scientific name Dudleya verityi, is being studied by researchers from UC Santa Cruz Arboretum and the National Park Service.
The 5,000-acre area habitat where the succulents used to thrive burned so hot that no plants were found during a recent survey, Stephen McCabe, research director at the arboretum told the university's website.
In another area, only 10 plants survived where 1,500 plants were reported during a 2009 survey.
Researchers are waiting until the first heavy winter rainfall before ruling the species as completely gone. However, the Springs Fire took place when the plants were flowering, lowering the chance that they seeded.
Plans are being made to possibly use a seed collection from garden-grown plants at the UCSC Arboretum to restore the wild population. No final decision has been made.
Verity's liveforever is listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The species faced threats from quarrying, housing development, fire, collecting, air pollution, non-native weeds, and trampling of habitat.
The Springs Fire scorched 24,000 acres over three days in the western Santa Monica Mountains, and occurred during the spring growth and flowering period.
Investigators believe the fire was started by a vehicle on the 101 Freeway near Camarillo. It burned within a few miles of Malibu's city limit and forced evacuations in Newbury Park and Camarillo.