In 2007 the City of San Rafael adopted an ordinance that requires property owners in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) to remove or trim away junipers. This code is under Chapter 4 of the San Rafael Municipal Code. Specifically 4.12 Vegetation Management Standards.
The biggest issue with junipers, other than the key features making them a fire threat, is the difficulty in trimming them. This post provides an image showing the proper trimming for junipers in the 15′-30′ zone. Note: NO junipers are allowed within 15′ feet of a structure in the WUI zone.
The shown spacing is able to be scaled along the 1:2 ratio. Example: 3′ tall junipers require 6′ of clearance from all surrounding vegetation.
The easiest way to deal with large, already existing junipers is complete removal. The City of San Rafael is offering assistance with the chipping and hauling of any pulled junipers in the city limits. San Rafael Fire Department has their Vegetation Management division running the Chipper Program that allows for both junipers and bamboo.
Vegetation Management has continued their city-wide efforts to clear residential fire threats. In the recent months they have conducted four chipper days with the public. While assisting nearly 40 private homes, 54 tons of junipers were chipped and hauled off. What was left behind was a more fire resistant landscape, void of the previously high fire load. These chipper days are planned to continue through the early spring and summer months.