Keep your property lean and clean
Defensible space is the area around a structure free of flammable plants and objects that will create a buffer zone to slow or halt wildfire spread to a structure. Defensible space also creates a zone that is essential for fire fighters to operate safely, while working to protect a home during a wildfire.
Zone 1 “Critical space” extends 0-30 feet from your house, structures or decks
Dying and dead vegetation are the main fuels for fires, although if hot enough live vegetation burns too. It is recommended that you keep the critical zone (0-30 feet from the house) clear of anything that could catch fire from blown embers such as leaves, weeds, flammable or high maintenance trees and shrubs, wood or scrap piles, storage, or furniture.
- Remove all dead plant material including weeds and dry grass, branches or stems
- Rake up all dry/dead leaves on the ground, especially underneath decks and porches
- Remove any tree branches hanging over the roof and trim them 10 feet away from roof/ chimney
- Remove any leaves on the roof and clean out rain gutters
- Remove vegetation away from decks, sheds and porches
- Remove woodpiles and other debris pile 30’ from structure
- Remove ladder fuels (low level vegetation that allows fire to spread from the ground to the tree canopy) by trimming low tree branches 6’-10’ from ground
- Cut or mow grass regularly
- Use rock and stone landscaping next to buildings
Zone 2 “Fuel reduction” extends 30-100 feet from your house
You can reduce fuel load and minimize the chance of fire jumping from plant to plant by thinning vegetation and increase spacing between plants, create small clusters of vegetation, eliminate ladder fuels by trimming lower levels of branches of shrubs and trees, avoid planting vegetation that is highly flammable and that accumulates dead woody material or produces lots of leaf litter.
- Remove dead and woody debris
- Avoid planting vegetation that creates lots of leaf litter
- Remove leaf litter that accumulates
- Thin landscape and remove 50% of live vegetation
- Trim existing tree limbs creating space between trees –about 10ft between tips of limbs
- Trim low level branches for trees and shrubs
- Space plants out (2-4 times the height of plants) to prevent fire spread between them and plant in small clusters
- New tree plantings should be 20-30 feet apart
- Trim tree tops to 15-18 feet
Approximately 90% of wildfires in California are caused by humans.
Don’t spark a wildfire – Some helpful tips!
- Mechanical equipment should not be used outdoors on Red Flag Days (i.e., weed eaters, lawn mowers)- they can create sparks and start a fire in nearby grasses
- Cover chimney outlet with non-flammable wire mesh
- Trim trees 10 feet away from chimney
- Tow chains that drag on roadways can create sparks that ignite grasses along the roadside
- Park vehicles on dirt, cement or asphalt not on dry grass or brush next to roads, hot mufflers and undercarriages can cause brush to ignite and start a wildfire
- Watch for Arson -report suspicious behavior in wildland areas especially on Red Flag days
- Report illegal camp fires
- Be prepared to evacuate and have a plan.