Defensible Space Works
Defensible Space slows the spread of wildfire and creates a buffer zone to help firefighters and first responders safely defend your home. Preparing your home for fire season is a year-round effort. Both a fire-resistant structure and defensible space are necessary.
Key components include:
• Design: Plan accordingly using defensible space best practices.
• Materials: Use fire-resistant materials.
• Frequent Maintenance: Keep vegetation irrigated and clear debris often.
Reproduced with permission from the National Fire Protection Association, copyright © 2019, NFPA, Quincy, MA. All rights reserved. This material is not the complete and official position of the NFPA on the referenced subject, which can be obtained through the NFPA website at www.nfpa.org.
Create Defensible Space
Immediate Zone 0-5 FT Around Your Home
- Create a no-fuel, or low-fuel, zone 0-5 ft around your home
- Clean roofs and gutters of dead leaves, all debris and needles that could catch embers. Maintain clean gutters.
- Use hard surfaces, such as concrete or fire-resistant materials.
- If planting, use widely spaced, non-woody, low herbaceous vegetation away from vents, windows, and interior corners.
- Remove combustibles. Store firewood and flammable materials at least 30 ft away from your home, garage, or deck. Never store flammable materials under your deck.
- Shrubs and trees are not recommended in this zone. Trim back overhanging branches 10ft from your roof.
Intermediate Zone 5-30 FT Around Your Home
- Create vegetation “islands”, to break up continuous fuels. Remove ladder fuels.*
- Get rid of leaf and needle debris from the yard. Keep grass under 8 in.
- Keep vegetation well irrigated and free from debris.
Extended Zone 30-100 FT Around Your Home
- Create and maintain a minimum of 10 ft between the tops of trees. Remove ladder fuels.*
- Remove dead trees and shrubs.
Landscaping with Wildfire in Mind
Under the right conditions, all plants will burn. However, there are plants you can select that are less prone to fire. When selecting fire-resistant plants, look for the following qualities: low volume of fuel, high-moisture content, and low amounts of oils and resins. Both the Sierra Nevada Alliance and the Redbud Chapter of the California Native Plant Society provide helpful resources for native, fire-resistant landscaping in Nevada County.