SAN DIEGO COUNTY – What is “Defensible Space?” Consider it a “buffer zone” between a home or building and the potentially fire-prone grasses, trees and vegetation that surround it. One hundred feet of defensible space is required by law under the California Public Resources Code (PRC) 4291. There are two “zones” for creating defensible space.
Zone 1 is 30 feet from a home, including outdoor decks, sheds and other structures and must be cleared of:
• Dead grasses, weeds and plants
• Exposed wood piles (unless covered with a fire-resistant tarp or other material)
• Dead pine needles, leaves and other falling debris from surrounding trees and shrubs which collect in rain gutters, in yards and on a roof
• Dead branches and tree limbs closer than 10 feet from your roof and chimney
• Any dead or fire-prone shrubs or vegetation near decks and windows
• Zone 2 is the area 30-100 feet from a structure; including, but not limited to houses, sheds, workshops and other buildings and must be include:
• Removal of fallen leaves, twigs, bark, cones and small branches (some exceptions for erosion control are permitted)
• Sufficient vertical and horizontal spacing between trees and shrubs
Cal Fire responds to hundreds of vegetation fires every year started by using the right equipment the wrong way. It only takes the metal blade of a mower to strike a rock, create a spark and start a fire! Spark arresters are required on all portable, gasoline-powered equipment; including tractors, harvesters, chainsaws, weed trimmers and mowers. It is important to keep spark arresters free of carbon build-up.
The ReadyForWildfire.Org website provides an interactive and user-friendly guide to help residents understand defensible space.