General Overview

Fire HazardIn the State of California, forest fires and other types of wildfires, due to both natural causes and man-made causes, are a major issue. This is especially true during the hotter months of the year, which are known as the California Fire Season. Not only do these fires wreak havoc on local ecology systems, but they can result in a significant amount of property damage, financial ruin, and even death. That’s why it’s extremely important to make sure that your own property’s surrounding areas are not a fire hazard. The State of California’s Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, also known as CAL FIRE, has put in place various guidelines and regulations to help assist you with this matter. Here’s an overview:

The Two Home Zones to Be Aware of

According to the Department of Forestry and Fire, there are two main home zones that you should be aware of, which are:

  • The Home Defense Zone
  • The Reduced Fuel Zone

The home defense zone is the area that’s within 30 feet of your home, while the reduced fuel zone extends out up to an additional 70 feet for a total of 100 feet (or where your property line ends). Both of these areas have different requirements and their own set of circumstances regarding what constitutes a fire hazard.

The Home Defense Zone

The Home Defense ZoneThe Home Defense Zone requires, according to California Public Resources Code § 4291, that all flammable vegetation and growth that is considered to be combustible is removed from within 30 feet of your home. There are some exceptions, however, as individual trees, shrubs, and other types of plants can be left in place. In order to fit within the requirements, though, they have to be well-kept and spaced properly. The point of the home defense zone is to prevent a fire from spreading from tree to tree or from vegetation to vegetation in which it ultimately reaches the home.

The Reduced Fuel Zone

The Reduced Fuel Zone, as mentioned, extends out from the Home Defense Zone for an additional 70 feet away from the home. It’s supposed to end where the property line does or at a total of 100 feet. However, this is dependent on the ground slope by the home being at less than 10%. If the ground slope is greater than 10%, this may require the Reduced Fuel Zone to be extended out further. You can ask your property insurance company or the local fire department for help in determining whether or not your Reduced Fuel Zone needs to be extended. Regardless, all throughout this zone, especially towards the end of it, the trees and vegetation should be well-kept and thinned out.

Remember that the aforementioned areas in terms of their requirements pertains to the ones that are under the jurisdiction of CAL FIRE. If your area is a Local Responsibility Area that is protected by your local fire departments, they may have some slightly different requirements.

Lewis Tree Service has close to 30 years of experience in assisting residents in determining if their surrounding trees and vegetation are a fire hazard. You want to be proactive when it comes to this, so if you have any doubts, we’d be more than happy to assist you. Contact us today for a free quote and to have one of our ISA certified arborists sent to help you!