Return to
Home page

Brush Clearance Guidelines

Defensible Space Concepts
This information is provided to assist you in providing the 100' of brush clearance around your home. These concepts are guidelines only and may be modified to suit specific conditions.

ZONE A 0 TO 5 FEET FROM THE HOUSE
The key purpose of Zone A is to have the least flammable type of landscaping immediately adjacent to the house to prevent ignition and direct exposure from flames.
Remove all dead trees, shrubs and branches Remove highly flammable native shrubs
Remove plant material once it has cured (yellowed) Avoid planting evergreen shrubs and trees such as junipers and pines.
Maintain 5 feet vertical clearance from the roof surface. Keep the roof surface free from debris. Plant low growing vegitation with high moisture content such as flowers and ground covers. Keep plants maintained and irrigated.
ZONE B 5 TO 30 FEET FROM THE HOUSE
This Zone provides an area where firefighters can defend your home and where fuels have been substantially reduced.
Remove all dead trees, shrubs and branches. If you desire, leave small groups of existing native shrubs. Keep well maintained. Reduce height and remove branches that are near the ground. Dry grass, weeds and small shrubs must be maintained less than 3 inches.
A thin layer of grass that is compact and laying flat to the ground surface is acceptable.
Bare ground in this zone is unacceptable because of soil errossion concerns.
Native trees are allowable so long as the ladder fuels are removed (remove lower tree branches 3 - 6 feet from the ground.)
Use lawn, ground covers, erosion contol devices, low growing shrubs and mulches in this zone. Keep plants green during fire season. Use supplemented irrigation if necessary.
ZONE C 30 TO 100 FEET FROM THE HOUSE
The concept involved in this zone is to reduce fire intensity and flame length by modifying the native vegetation.
Remove all dead trees and branches. Break up thick continuous stands of shrubs by selective removal: shrubs should average 18 feet apart. Remove the lower branches of remaining shrubs (with 3 feet of ground).
Grasses and small shrubs may be left as high as 18 inches from the ground on steep slopes for slope stability purposes.
On steep slopes, the distance for Zone C may need to be extended. Remove dead woody material laying on the ground.