How Do I Get Started with Home Hardening and Creating Defensible Space?

Fire prevention experts have identified zones (areas around your house) that should be improved to reduce fire risk.

Zone 0: Immediate Zone (0-5ft from structure)

  • Remove accumulated leaves, needles and dead vegetative growth from the roof, gutters, decks, porches, and stairways.
  • All vegetation in this zone shall be well-irrigated and free from dead or dying material. Trim to avoid contact with structure.
  • Maintain adequate space between tree canopies. Remove all dead and dying branches.
  • Remove all Combustible Vegetation. Remaining plants shall not be continuous. See Remove Combustible Vegetation section.
  • Avoid fire-hazardous plants, particularly under or near windows.
  • Mulch should not make contact with structure. Rock and pavers are encouraged.


Zone 1: Intermediate Zone | within 30

  • Remove all Junipers, Bamboo, Acacia, and Italian Cypress.
  • Remove all vegetation within 10 feet of chimney or stovepipe.
  • Keep woodpiles and other highly combustible material at least 10 feet from structures.


Zone 2: Extended Zone | within 100

  • Remove lower tree branches within 5 feet of the ground, not to exceed ¹/3 of the tree’s total height.
  • Cut and remove grasses and weeds to a maximum height of 3 inches.
  • Loose surface material, including leaves, twigs, and mulch, should be no more than 3 inches deep.
  • Remove all Combustible Vegetation (single-specimen exemptions may apply).
  • Considering slope, maintain adequate horizontal and vertical spacing to prevent a “fire bridge” or “ladder.” See Plant and Tree Spacing section.
  • Remove piles of dead vegetation


Access Zone | roadways & driveways

  • Assure safe access and egress by maintaining vegetation within 10 feet of roadways and driveways similarly to the Immediate Zone. Provide for 13½ foot clearance above roadway.
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