Defensible Space

Ready For Wildfire
Defensible space is the area surrounding a house or other structure where the vegetation and fuels have been modified, thinned, or removed to slow or stop fire from reaching the building(s), giving firefighters a better opportunity to safely and effectively defend the property.

Homes with an effective defensible space are much more likely to survive a fire than those without.

A defensible space should extend at least 30 feet from the structure for zone 1 and 100 feet for zone 2. It should be “Lean, Clean, and Green”, and vegetation should be thinned to interrupt continuous fuel sources leading to structure(s). Oftentimes defensible space is simply a homeowner’s properly maintained green yard.

Creating Defensible Space

The spacing between grass, shrubs, and trees is crucial to reduce the spread of wildfires. The type, size, and dryness of brush and trees, as well as the slope of the land, determine the spacing needed. For example, property on a slope requires greater spacing between trees and shrubs than level property. Also, property with thick vegetation should have trees spaced farther apart (and limbed higher) than property with sparse vegetation.

The intent behind creating defensible space is to limit (or eliminate) a continuous line or ladder of flammable material leading to structures.

Preparing Your Home for Wildfire

How safe is my house?

The materials used to construct your home or other structures are accurate predictors of their vulnerability to a wildland fire.

Non-combustible options like metal, brick, and stucco are wise choices for siding your house. Although vinyl siding doesn’t burn, it quickly melts and exposes the combustible wood beneath it.

Use metal or tile for the roofing material; wood shakes and shingles burn easily, especially when they are dry. Sparks and embers, sometimes traveling miles from fires,  can easily ignite wood shingles, which will further promote the spread of fire.

Here are some additional suggestions on measures homeowners can easily take to reduce your home’s vulnerability to a wildland fire and assist responders in quickly locating your house:

  • Post a visible address marker
  • Skirt decks and openings
  • Enclose any eaves
  • Clean roof and gutters regularly
  • Mow/rake near home to disrupt fuel continuity
  • Trim the limbs off of trees up to 6 feet
  • Cut back vegetation along driveways
  • Improve driveway or access roads
  • Clear all fuels within 15 feet of propane tanks
  • Store firewood away from house
  • Request a Free Professional Home and Lot Evaluation
wooded trees on property