Creating a Defensible Wildfire Space

As we’ve seen all too clearly, the western United States has recently experienced some of the most devastating and catastrophic wildfires in our nation’s history. There are a few steps you can take to help protect your home in case of wildfire. Consider the zones around your home and see if there are any improvements you can make using this easy guide.

Structure Ignition Zone (0 to 5 Feet)

  • Clear your roof and outdoor fixtures (dead leaves, debris, pine needles, or anything that could catch embers)
  • Limit the number of trees directly in contact with the home (especially evergreen trees)
  • Move flammable material away from the home (firewood, lumber, bark, anything that can burn)

Firebreak Zone (5 to 30 Feet)

  • Clear vegetation from under large stationary propane tanks
  • Keep woodpiles at least 20 feet away from structures
  • Mow lawns and native grasses
  • Remove ladder fuels (vegetation under trees and branches) so a surface fire is less likely to reach a tree's crown

Reduced Fuel Zone (30 to 100 Feet)

  • Dispose of heavy accumulations of ground litter, debris, and dead plant material
  • Remove small trees growing between mature trees
  • Remove vegetation adjacent to storage sheds or other outbuildings within this area

Defensible wildfire space: structure ignition zone – 0 to 5 feet; firebreak zone – 5 to 30 feet; reduced fuel zone – 30 to 100 feet