California has had a very challenging year with numerous fires, spreading quickly and threatening entire communities. Let us give firefighters a hand by doing the things we can do to keep our homes fire safe and hopefully, make their jobs a little easier.
Here’s CalFire’s recommendations for creating a defensible space.
Zone 1 extends 30 feet* out from buildings, structures, decks, etc.
- Remove all dead plants, grass and weeds (vegetation).
- Remove dead or dry leaves and pine needles from your yard, roof and rain gutters.
- Trim trees regularly to keep branches a minimum of 10 feet from other trees.
- Remove branches that hang over your roof and keep dead branches 10 feet away from your chimney.
- Relocate wood piles into Zone 2.
- Remove or prune flammable plants and shrubs near windows.
- Remove vegetation and items that could catch fire from around and under decks.
- Create a separation between trees, shrubs and items that could catch fire, such as patio furniture, wood piles, swing sets, etc.
Zone 2 extends 100 feet out from buildings, structures, decks, etc.
- Cut or mow annual grass down to a maximum height of 4 inches.
- Create horizontal spacing between shrubs and trees. (See diagram)
- Create vertical spacing between grass, shrubs and trees. (See diagram)
- Remove fallen leaves, needles, twigs, bark, cones, and small branches. However, they may be permitted to a depth of 3 inches.
* Check with your local fire department for any additional defensible space or weed abatement ordinances.
Plant and Tree Spacing
The spacing between grass, shrubs, and trees is crucial to reduce 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 requires greater spacing between trees and shrubs than a level property that has small, sparse vegetation.
Remove all tree branches at least 6 feet from the ground.
Allow extra vertical space between shrubs and trees. Lack of vertical space can allow a fire to move from the ground to the brush to the tree tops like a ladder.
Did you know that approximately 95% of all wildfires in California are caused by people.
That is why fire agencies need the public’s help to prevent them. According to Cal Fire, we each can help by ensuring a campfire or landscape debris burn of leaves and branches is completely extinguished, or keeping a vehicle well maintained to prevent sparks. Following just a few simple steps can help prevent wildfires.
At Byers, we work each day to make homes safer, better and prepared. Whether it is our LeafGuard covered gutters, fire-resistant roofing material or land clearing — we are here to help. Reach Byers at (530) 272-8272. Learn more about fire preparedness at readyforwildfire.org .