Protect Your Home and Property this Wildfire Season

Wildfire Season IS Coming ARE YOU READY? Defsible SpaceThere are a few simple steps you can take to help reduce the risk of wildfire damage, and we’ve outlined them below. We hope you find this information helpful and please don’t hesitate to contact Mountains 2 Sea or your local Fire Department if you have any questions. You can download the Homeowners Checklist – How To Make Your Home Fire Safe directly from CAL FIRE here.

Creating defensible space around your home is one of the best ways to improve its chances of surviving a wildfire. Defensible space is the buffer you create between a building on your property and the grass, trees, shrubs, or any wildland area that surround it. This space is essential for slowing or stopping the spread of wildfire and can help protect your home from catching fire—either from embers, direct flame contact or radiant heat. Proper defensible space also provides firefighters with a safe area to work in when defending your home.

Defensible Space Zones

Zones 1 and 2 are the current defensible space required by law. However, new legislation (Assembly Bill 3074) now requires a third zone for defensible space. This regulation, known as the ember-resistant zone (Zone 0), must be developed by the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection and implemented by January 1, 2023. The level of intensity for fuel management varies depending on how close it is to your home – with more intense reduction happening closer to your house. So, start at your home and work your way outwards until you reach 100 feet or your property line (whichever is closer).

Zone 0 – Ember Resistant Zone

This is the area closest to your home – within 5 feet. It’s called the ember-resistant zone, and even though it’s not currently required by law, it’s the most important defensible space zone. Why? Because this is where embers are most likely to land and start a fire. So it’s important to clear away any materials that could catch fire easily.

Zone 1 – Extends 50 feet** from buildings, structures, decks, etc. or to your property line, whichever is closer.

  • 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.

We are currently in severe drought conditions, when green landscaping possibly may not be able to be achieved even with low volume drip irrigation due to water restrictions.
Be sure to remove all dead or dying material from Zone 1

Zone 2 – Reduce Fuel Zone Extends from 50 feet to 100 feet from buildings, structures, decks, etc., or to your property line, whichever is closer.

  • Cut or mow annual grass down to a maximum height of 4 inches.
  • Create horizontal space between shrubs and trees.
  • Create vertical space between grass, shrubs and trees.
  • 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.

Zone 1 and 2

“Outbuildings” and Liquid Propane Gas (LPG) storage tanks shall have 10 feet of clearance to bare mineral soil and no flammable vegetation for an additional 10 feet around their exterior.

San Diego County

**San Diego County requires 50 feet of clearance in Zone 1. Check with your local fire department or fire protection district for any additional defensible space or weed abatement ordinance requirements.

Landscaping – Plants and Trees

The spacing between grass, shrubs, and trees is crucial to reducing the spread of wildfires. The spacing needed is determined by the type and size of brush and trees, as well as the slope of the land. For example, a property on a steep slope with larger vegetation might require greater spacing between trees and shrubs than a level property that has small, sparse vegetation.

Be Fire Wise With Your Landscaping Year Round

When it comes to landscaping for wildfire resistance, it’s all about choosing the right plants and keeping them well-maintained. By planning ahead and being diligent with your routine maintenance, you can create a gorgeous landscape that’s also resistant to fire.

Completing a full home inspection to determine the condition of your property including the exterior should be a priority. Your local home inspection team can determine if exterior landscaping in Zone 1-2 as well as the New Zone 0, need a change. Ensuring that all systems in and outside of your home are up to date is a top priority for your home inspector. Reach out to Mountains 2 Sea Home Inspections for a complete home inspection anywhere in San Diego County

SDG&E also provides electrical safety tips for your home. You can read our reviews on Google and Yelp.

To book your inspection call 1 (619) 890-8124 OR use our GET HOME INSPECTION FORM.