The extent of wildfires in the western United States is increasing, but how land ownership, firefighting, and reserve status influence fire probability is unclear. California serves as a unique natural experiment to estimate the impact of these factors, as ownership is split equally between federal and non-federal landowners; there is a relatively large proportion of reserved lands where extractive uses are prohibited and fire suppression is limited; and land ownership and firefighting responsibility are purposefully not always aligned. Panel Poisson regression techniques and pre-regression matching were used to model changes in annual fire probability from 1950–2015 on reserve and non-reserve lands on federal and non-federal ownerships across four vegetation types: forests, rangelands, shrublands, and forests without commercial species. Fire probability was found to have increased over time across all 32 categories. A marginal effects analysis showed that federal ownership and firefighting was associated with increased fire probability, and that the difference in fire probability on federal versus non-federal lands is increasing over time. Ownership, firefighting, and reserve status, played roughly equal roles in determining fire probability, and were found to have much greater influence than average maximum temperature (°C) during summer months (June, July, August), average annual precipitation (cm), and average annual topsoil moisture content by volume, demonstrating the critical role these factors play in western fire regimes and the importance of including them in future analysis focused on understanding and predicting wildfire in the Western United States.