Creating and maintaining defensible space is essential for increasing your home’s chance of surviving a wildfire. It’s the buffer that homeowners are required to create on their property between a structure and the plants, brush and trees or other items surrounding the structure that could catch fire. This space is needed to slow the spread of wildfire and improves the safety of firefighters defending your home.
Two zones make up the required 100 feet of defensible space:
Zone 1 - Extends 30 feet out from buildings, decks, and other structures
- Remove all dead plants, grass and weeds.
- Remove dead or dry leaves and pine needles from your yard, roof, and rain gutters.
- Trim trees regularly to keep branches a minimum of 10 feet from other trees.
- Remove dead branches that hang over your roof. And keep branches 10 feet away from your chimney.
- Relocate exposed wood piles outside of Zone 1 unless they are completely covered in a fire resistant material.
- Remove or prune flammable plants and shrubs near windows.
- Remove vegetation and items that could catch fire from around and under decks.
- Create a separation between trees, shrubs and items that could catch fire, such as patio furniture swing sets, etc.
Zone 2 - extends 3--100 feet from buildings and other structures.
- Cut or mow annual grass down to a maximum height of 4 inches.
- Create horizontal spacing between shrubs and trees.
- Remove vertical spacing between grass, shrubs, and trees.
- Remove fallen leaves, needles, twigs, bark, cones, and small branches. However, they may be permitted to a depth of 4 inches if erosion control is an issue.
Both Zones - 0-100 feet from buildings and other structures.
- Mow before 10 a.m., but never when it’s windy or excessively dry.
- Protect water quality. Do not clear vegetation near waterways to bare soil. Vegetation removal can cause soil erosion--especially on steep slopes.