Defensible Space

Defensible space refers to that area between a house and an oncoming wildfire where the vegetation has been modified to reduce the wildfire threat and which provides an opportunity for fire fighters to effectively defend the house. Oftentimes, a defensible space is simply a homeowner's backyard.

Within the recommended defensible space distance, we conduct the following activities:

  • Remove dead vegetation (i.e., dead trees and shrubs, dried grass, dead branches, etc.).
  • Remove lower branches from mature trees to a height of eight feet from ground level. Also, remove small trees and shrubs growing under mature trees.
  • Remove tree branches within 15 feet of a chimney or stove pipe. Keep vegetation clear of power lines and decks.
  • Beyond 30 feet, remove native shrubs to provide a separation between shrubs of approximately three times the shrub height (i.e., if shrub height is 2 feet, then 3 x 2 feet = 6 feet separation)we thin mature native trees to provide a separation of at least 10 feet between tree crowns.
  • Selectively thin and maintain remaining native vegetation at a shorter height through pruning.