Why 100 Feet?
Following these simple steps can dramatically increase the chance of your home surviving a wildfire!
A Defensible Space of 100 feet around your home is required by law.(1) The goal is to protect your home while providing a safe area for firefighters.
Step 1: Create a 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.
Step 2: Establish a 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:
Option One: 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. Note: 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.
Option Two: Remove all buildup 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.