Defensible Space and Home Hardening
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Defensible Space Zones
Zones 1 and 2 currently make up the 100 feet of defensible space required by law. Assembly Bill 3074, passed into law in 2020, requires a third zone for defensible space. This law requires the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection to develop the regulation for a new ember-resistant zone (Zone 0) within 0 to 5 feet of the home by January 1, 2023. The intensity of wildfire fuel management varies within the 100-foot perimeter of the home, with more intense fuels’ reduction occurring closer to your home. Start at the home and work your way out to 100 feet or to your property line, whichever is closer.
Zone 0 – Ember-Resistant Zone
The ember-resistant zone is currently not required by law, but science has proven it to be the most important of all the defensible space zones. This zone includes the area under and around all attached decks, and requires the most stringent wildfire fuel reduction. The ember-resistant zone is designed to keep fire or embers from igniting materials that can spread the fire to your home. The following provides guidance for this zone, which may change based on the regulation developed by the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection.
Zone 0 extends 5 feet from buildings, structures, decks, etc.
- Use hardscape like gravel, pavers, concrete and other noncombustible mulch materials. No combustible bark or mulch
- Remove all dead and dying weeds, grass, plants, shrubs, trees, branches and vegetative debris (leaves, needles, cones, bark, etc.); Check your roofs, gutters, decks, porches, stairways, etc.
- Remove all branches within 10 feet of any chimney or stovepipe outlet
- Limit plants in this area to low growing, nonwoody, properly watered and maintained plants
- Limit combustible items (outdoor furniture, planters, etc.) on top of decks
- Relocate firewood and lumber to Zone 2
- Replace combustible fencing, gates, and arbors attach to the home with noncombustible alternatives
- Consider relocating garbage and recycling containers outside this zone
- Consider relocating boats, RVs, vehicles and other combustible items outside this zone
Zone 1 – Lean, Clean and Green Zone
Zone 1 extends 30 feet from buildings, structures, decks, etc.
- Remove all dead plants, grass and weeds (vegetation).
- Remove dead or dry leaves and pine needles from your yard, roof and rain gutters.
- Remove branches that hang over your roof and keep dead branches 10 feet away from your chimney.
- Trim trees regularly to keep branches a minimum of 10 feet from other trees.
- Relocate wood piles to Zone 2.
- Remove or prune flammable plants and shrubs near windows.
- Remove vegetation and items that could catch fire from around and under decks, balconies and stairs.
- Create a separation between trees, shrubs and items that could catch fire, such as patio furniture, wood piles, swing sets, etc.
Zone 2 – Reduce Fuel Zone
Zone 2 extends from 30 feet to 100 feet out from buildings, structures, decks, etc. or to your property line, whichever is clsoer
- Cut or mow annual grass down to a maximum height of 4 inches.
- Create horizontal space between shrubs and trees. (See diagram)
- Create vertical space between grass, shrubs and trees. (See diagram)
- Remove fallen leaves, needles, twigs, bark, cones, and small branches. However, they may be permitted to a depth of 3 inches.
- All exposed wood piles must have a minimum of 10 feet of clearance, down to bare mineral soil, in all directions.
Defensible Space Zones
Although the ember-resistant zone is not needed by legislation at the moment, science has demonstrated that it is the most crucial of all the defended space zones. This zone, which includes the area under and around all associated decks, has the strictest wildfire fuel reduction requirements. The ember-resistant zone is intended to prevent flames or embers from igniting things that could spread the fire throughout your home. The following gives guidance for this zone, which may alter depending on the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection’s rule.
Lean, Clean and Green Zone - Plant and Tree Spacing
The distance between grass, shrubs, and trees is critical for preventing wildfires from spreading. The type and amount of shrubs and trees, as well as the slope of the land, influence the required spacing. A property on a steep slope with dense vegetation, for example, requires more space between trees and shrubs than a level property with sparse vegetation.
Defensible Space Solutions
Small adjustments to your home can cut your wildfire danger by up to 40%, and structural and vegetation improvements combined can cut your risk by up to 75%. Furthermore, when contrasted to a highly flammable environment, the losses avoided can be substantially larger (e.g. 5 times greater).
Our team of professionals can do a risk assessment to guarantee that your property meets the highest CALFire and NFPA standards.
3D Visual Inspection
One of our certified inspectors will create a 3D mapping of your property, along with a complete structural and vegetation inventory.
Long-Term Fire Retardant
We utilize the same Fire Retardants used to fight wildfires as the ones dropped in the Fire Department’s airplanes (without the red dye). This gold standard fire retardant is safe and effective to apply to vegetation.
Fire Risk Assessment
We assess the defensible space, combustibles around a home (home ignition zone), fences, decks, building shape, walls, roofs, roof vents, eaves & overhangs.