How to Protect Your Home From Wildfires

Here's the reality...

No home is 100% fireproof. 

However, there are many things you can do to help increase your chances of protecting your home from wildfires, ranging from small maintenance tips, to large home renovations. 

Create Defensible Space Zones

In American football, you have a line of defense to protect your quarterback. Think of these zones as multiple lines of defense to protect your home. These lines of defense are categorized by the distance from your home.

Zone 1: 0-5 feet

Zone 1 is the area closest to the home and other structures. This zone requires the maximum amount of hazard reduction.

  • Remove any combustible outdoor furniture. Replace jute or fiber door mats with fire resistant materials.
  • Remove or relocate all combustible materials, including garbage and recycling containers, lumber and trash
  • Clean all fallen leaves and needles regularly. Repeat often during fire season.
  • Remove tree limbs that extend into this zone. No vegetation is recommended within five feet of structures.
  • Do not store firewood, lumber or combustibles under decks or overhangs.
  • Use only inorganic, non-combustible mulches such as stone or gravel.

Zone 2: 5-30 feet

Zone 2 is a transitional area of fuels reduction between Zones 1 and 3.

  • The Intermediate Zone may include buildings, structures, decks, etc. Keep this area “Lean, Clean, and Green.”
  • Remove dead plants, grass 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, or at least 30 feet from any structures.
  • Remove vegetation and items that could catch fire from around and under decks.

Zone 3: 30-100 feet

Zone 3 is the area farthest from the home. It extends from the edge of Zone 2 to your property boundaries.

  • Cut or mow annual grass down to a maximum height of four inches.
  • Remove fallen leaves, needles, twigs, bark, cones and small branches. However, they may be permitted to a depth of three inches if erosion control is an issue.

The Extended Zone may even include space more than 100 feet away if required by steep slopes, nearby vegetation conditions, and/or your local fire department. 

Check with your local fire department for any additional defensible space or weed abatement ordinances.