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Why 100 Feet ?

Why 100 Feet ?

Following these simple steps can dramatically increase the chance of your home surviving a wildfire!

A Defensible Space of 100 feet aroundyour home is required by law.1 The goal is to protect your home while providing a safe area for firefighters.

1."Lean, Clean and Green Zone."

- Clearing an area of 30 feet immediately surrounding your home is critical. This area requires the greatest reduction in flammable vegetation.

2. "Reduced Fuel Zone."

- The fuel reduction zone in the remaining 70 feet (or to property line) will depend on the steepness of your property and the vegetation. Spacing between plants improves the chance of stopping a wildfire before it destroys your home. You have two options in this area:
  • Create horizontal and vertical spacing between plants. The amount of space will depend on how steep the slope is and the size of the plants.
  • Large trees do not have to be cut and removed as long as all of the plants beneath them are removed. This eliminates a vertical "fire ladder."
When clearing vegetation, use care when operating equipment such as lawnmowers. One small spark may start a fire; a string trimmer is much safer.

Remove all build - up of needles and leaves from your roof and gutters. Keep tree limbs trimmed at least 10 feet from any chimneys and remove dead limbs that hang over your home or garage. The law also requires a screen over your chimney outlet of not more than ½ inch mesh.

1.These regulations affect most of the grass, brush, and timber-covered private lands in the State. Some fire department jurisdictions may have additional requirements. Some activities may require permits for tree removal. Also, some activities may require special procedures for, 1) threatened and endangered species, 2) avoiding erosion, and 3) protection of water quality. Check with local officials if in doubt. Current regulations allow an insurance company to require additional clearance. The area to be treated does not extend beyond your property. The State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection has approved Guidelines to assist you in complying with the new law. Contact your local CAL FIRE office for more details.



1. Design/Construction

(For new Wildland Urban Interface Construction or Remodels)

  • Use ignition resistant construction (effective January 1, 2008) for roofs/roof assemblies, gutters, vents, desks, exterior walls, exterior windows.
  • Enclose the underside of eaves, balconies and above ground decks with fire resistant materials
  • Show your 100 feet Defensible Space on plot plan
  • Build your home away from ridge tops, canyons and areas between high points of a ridge Consider installing residential sprinklers
  • Make sure that electric service lines, fuse boxes and circuit breaker panels are installed and maintained per code 
  • Contact qualified individuals to perform electrical maintenance and repairs

2. Access

  • Make sure that your street name sign is visibly posted at each street intersection
  • Post your house address so it is easily visible fromthe street, especially at night
  • Address numbers should be at least 3 inches talland on a contrasting background
  • Identify at least two exit routes from your neighborhood
  • Clear flammable vegetation at least 10 feet from roads and five feet from driveways
  • Cut back overhanging tree branches above access roads
  • Construct roads that allow two-way traffic
  • Make sure dead-end roads, and long drive ways have turn-around areas wide enough for emergency vehicles
  • Design bridges to carry heavy emergency vehicles
  • Post clear road signs to show traffic restrictions such as dead-end roads, and weight and height limitations

3. Roof

  • Install a fire resistant roof. Contact your local fire department for current roofing requirements
  • Remove dead leaves and needles from your roof and gutters
  • Remove dead branches overhanging your roof and keep branches 10 feet from your chimney
  • Cover your chimney outlet and stovepipe with a nonflammable screen of 1/2 inch or smaller mesh

4. Landscape

  • Create a Defensible Space of 100 feet around your home. It is required by law
  • Create a “LEAN, CLEAN and GREEN ZONE” by removing all flammable vegetation within 30 feet immediately surrounding your home
  • Then create a “REDUCED FUEL ZONE” in the remaining 70 feet or to your property line You have two options in this area:

    • A. Create horizontal and vertical spacing between plants. The amount of space will depend on how steep your property is and the size of your plants.
    • B.Large trees do not have to be removed as long as all of the plants beneath them are removed.

  • Remove lower tree branches at least six feet from the ground
  • Landscape with fire resistant plants
  • Maintain all plants with regular water, and keep dead braches, leaves and needles removed.
  • When clearing vegetation, use care when operatin equipment such as lawnmowers. One small spark may start a fire; a string trimmer is much safer

5. Yard

  • Stack woodpiles at least 30 feet from all structures and remove vegetation within 10 feet of woodpiles
  • Above ground Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LP-gas) containers (500 or less water gallons) shall be located a minimum of 10 feet with respect to buildings, public ways, and lot lines of adjoining property that can be built upon. - CFC 3804.3
  • Remove all stacks of construction materials, pine needles, leaves and other debris from your yard
  • Contact your local fire department to see if debris burning is allowed in your area; if so, obtain a burning permit

6.Emergency Water Supply

  • Maintain an emergency water supply that meets fire department standards through one of the following:

    • a community water/hydrant system
    • a cooperative emergency storage tank with neighbors
    • a minimum storage supply of 2,500 gallon on your property (like a pond orpool)

  • Clearly mark all emergency water sources
  • Create easy firefighter access to your closestemergency water source
  • If your water comes from a well, consider an emergency generator to operate the pump during a power failure


1. Kitchen

  • Keep a working fire extinguisher in the kitchen
  • Maintain electric and gas stoves in good operating condition
  • Keep baking soda on hand to extinguish stove- top grease fires
  • Turn the handles of pots and pans away from the ront of the stove
  • Install curtains and towel holders away from stoveburners
  • Store matches and lighters out of reach of children
  • Make sure that electrical outlets are designed to handle appliance loads

2. Living Room

Install a screen in front of fireplace or wood stove
Store the ashes from your fireplace (and barbe-cue) in a metal container and dispose of only when cold
Clean fireplace chimneys and flues at least once a year

3. Hallway

  • Install smoke detectors between living and sleeping areas
  • Test smoke detectors monthly and replace
  • batteries twice a year, when clocks are changedin the spring and fall
  • Replace electrical cords that do not work properly, have loose connections, or are frayed

4. Bedroom

  • If you sleep with the door closed, install a smoke detector in the bedroom
  • Turn off electric blankets and other electrical appliances when not in use
  • Do not smoke in bed
  • If you have security bars on your windows or doors, be sure they have an approved quick release mechanism so you and your family can get out in the event of a fire

5. Bathroom

  • Disconnect appliances such as curling irons andhair dryers when done; store in a safe location until cool
  • Keep items such as towels away from wall and floor
  • Heaters

6. Garage

  • Mount a working fire extinguisher in the garage
  • Have tools such as a shovel, hoe, rake and bucket available for use in a wildfire emergency
  • Install a solid door with self-closing hinges between living areas and the garage
  • Dispose of oily rags in ® Underwriters Laboratories approved metal containers
  • Store all combustibles away from ignition sources such as water heaters
  • Disconnect electrical tools and appliances when not in use
  • Allow hot tools such as glue guns and soldering irons to cool before storing
  • Properly store flammable liquids in approved containers and away from ignition sources such as pilot lights

* Disaster Preparedness

  • Maintain at least a three-day supply of drinking water, and food that does not require refrigeration and generally does not need cooking
  • Maintain a portable radio, flashlight, emergency cooking equipment, lanterns and batteries
  • Outdoor cooking appliances such as barbecues should never be taken indoors for use as heaters
  • Maintain first aid supplies to treat the injured until help arrives
  • Keep a list of valuables to take with you in an emergency; if possible, store these valuables together
  • For safety, securely attach all water heaters and furniture such as cabinets and bookshelves to walls
  • Have a contingency plan to enable family members to contact each other. Establish a family/friend phone tree
  • Designate an emergency meeting place outside your home
  • Practice emergency exit drills in the house (EDITH) regularly
  • Make sure that all family members understand how to STOP, DROP AND ROLL if their clothes should catch fire