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Fire Department News

Posted on: June 3, 2021

Wildfire Ready: Ensuring Defensible Space on Your Property

Home in the Wildland Urban Interface

Wildfire season is here and knowing how to create defensible space can potentially save your home and property. Defensible space is the buffer you create between a building on your property and the grass, trees, shrubs, or any other wildland that surrounds it. The space helps to slow or stop the spread of wildfire and it protects your home from embers, direct flames and radiant heat. Residents within or around the wildland urban interface (WUI) area can learn more about the zones that make up the 100’ of defensible space in wildfire prone areas, and take actions to ensure your property is wildfire ready.

Zone 0 (‘Zero’) 

This is the most important zone as it refers to the area nearest your home, 0’-5’, including surfaces of the structure itself and all areas under and around attached decks. Along with hardening your home use the next steps as guidance 

  • Remove or relocate all combustible materials including garbage and recycling containers, lumber, trash, and patio accessories.
  • Remove tree limbs that extend into this zone.
  • Replace jute or natural fiber doormats with heavy rubber or metal grates.
  • Clean all fallen leaves and needles.
  • No vegetation is recommended within 5’ of any structure. 
  • Do not store firewood, lumber, or combustibles here instead store them inside or at least 30’ from any structure.
  • Use only inorganic, non-combustible mulches such as stone or gravel.

Zone 1 

This zone extends from your homes exterior walls or deck to a distance of 30’

  • Remove all dead grasses, weeds, fallen leaves, needles, twigs, bark, cones, and branches. 
  • Use only compost or heavy bark mulch to maintain soil moisture, or for erosion control.
  • Choose only fire-smart plants and keep them healthy.
  • Provide spacing between shrubs, at least 2 times the height of the mature plant. Add space on steeper slopes.
  • Trim trees to remove limbs 6’ to 10’ from the ground.
  • Remove branches that overhang your roof or within 10’ of chimneys. 
  • Remove combustibles around and under decks and awnings.
  • Clear vegetation around fences, sheds, outdoor furniture, play structures

Zone 2 

This zone extends 30’ to at least 100’. More defensible space may be required based on topography, vegetation, or building construction.  

  • Cut or mow annual grass down to a maximum height of 4 inches.
  • Create horizontal and 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 3 inches if erosion control is an issue.
  • Remove all piles of dead vegetation.
  • Not all properties have 100’ space between structures and parcel lines and that is why it is important to work with your neighbors to help create defensible space for each other.

Visit  the "Property Owner Resource Library" at srcity.org/WildfireReady to learn more.

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