100 Feet Defensible Space

In January 2005 a new state law became effective that extended the defensible space clearance around homes and structures from 30 feet to 100 feet. Proper clearance to 100 feet dramatically increases the chance of your house surviving a wildfire. This defensible space also provides for firefighter safety when protecting homes during a wildland fire.

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Why 100 feet?

More and more homes are being built in the space between the urban area and the wildland area. This area is called the Wildland / Urban Interface. There are not enough firefighting resources in the County to have a fire engine placed at every structure in the path of even a moderate sized wildland fire. Add wind, steep topography, and narrow winding roads and it becomes even more difficult. A 100 feet defensible space will give your home a chance to survive if the fire arrives at your home before firefighting resources do. When firefighting resources are at your home the 100 feet defensible space will provide for added firefighter safety. Too many firefighters have been killed trying to protect homes without adequate defensible space.

The 100 feet defensible space is not expected to be an arid wasteland. To the contrary, the area from 0 to 30 feet is called the “Lean, Clean and Green Zone”. Clearing this area surrounding your home is critical. This area requires the greatest reduction in flammable vegetation.The area from 30 to 100 feet is called the “Reduced Fuel Zone”. The Reduced Fuel Zone is the remaining 70 feet (or to the property line). Decrease fuel in the Reduced Fuel Zone.

Creating defensible space is your responsibility and it is required by law*.

*Compliance to PRC 4291 is required by any person who owns, leases, controls, operates or maintains a building or structure in or adjoining any mountainous area, forest-covered lands, brush-covered lands, grass-covered lands or any land that is covered with flammable material and is within the State Responsibility Area. PRC 4291 requires 100 feet of Defensible Space (or to the property line if less than 100 feet) from every building or structure that is used for support or shelter of any use or occupancy. Owner, lessee or operator must also comply with all existing environmental protection laws and must obtain all necessary permits. Contact your local resource or planning agency officials to ensure compliance with federal, state and local requirements. Contact your local CAL FIRE office, fire department, or Fire Safe Council for tips and assistance.

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