RMC News & Events

What is Defensible Space?

2020 fire season was record breaking for the state of California with the state experiencing six of the largest and most destructive wildfires in state history. More than 4 million acres burned across the state, which was double the previous record set in 2008. Arizona also had a record breaking season last year with 2,520 wildfires that burned 978,519 acres of land, the worst the state has seen in nearly a decade. With fire season nearing authorities and CalFire are warning that the upcoming season could once again be dangerous.

Early heat waves and a lack of precipitation are pushing our fire season alerts earlier and earlier into the year. High winds and dry conditions with California’s already dying vegetation is the recipe for a grim 2021. The state is asking that residents already begin their Defensible Space efforts on all of their properties

Why is defensible space important?

Defensible space is crucial for improving your home’s chances of surviving during a wildfire. Defensible space is the buffer that you create between your business, home, or multi-family property and the grass, trees, shrubs, or any wild land area that surrounds them. This space is needed to slow or stop the spread of wildfire to prevent your property from catching fire due to radiant heat or direct flame contact. Defensible space also helps protect firefighters while defending your home.

Where is defensible space and how can I create it?

Two zones around your property make up the 100 feet of defensible space.

House with zone one and zone two parameters marked.

Zone 1

Zone 1 extends 30 feet* from buildings, structures, decks, etc.

  • Remove all dead plants, grass and weeds (vegetation).
  • Remove dead or dry leaves and pine needles from your yard, roof and rain gutters.
  • Remove branches that hang over your roof and keep dead branches 10 feet away from your chimney.
  • Trim trees regularly to keep branches a minimum of 10 feet from other trees.
  • Relocate wood piles to Zone 2.
  • Remove or prune flammable plants and shrubs near windows.
  • Remove vegetation and items that could catch fire from around and under decks.
  • Create a separation between trees, shrubs and items that could catch fire, such as patio furniture, wood piles, swing sets, etc.

Zone 2

Zone 2 extends 100 feet out from buildings, structures, decks, etc.

  • Cut or mow annual grass down to a maximum height of 4 inches.
  • Create horizontal space between shrubs and trees. (See diagram)
  • Create vertical space between grass, shrubs and trees. (See diagram)
  • Remove fallen leaves, needles, twigs, bark, cones, and small branches. However, they may be permitted to a depth of 3 inches.

* San Diego County requires 50 feet of clearance in Zone 1. Check with your local fire department for any additional defensible space or weed abatement ordinances.

What else can I do to defend my home?

Using fire-resistant landscaping, and hardening your home by using fire-resistant building materials can help save your property when defensible space fails.

Watch the video below from CalFire to learn more about defensible space!

If your business, multi-family property, or home is affected by a wildfire this fire season, don’t hesitate to contact Restoration Management Company for your fire & smoke restoration needs.

Since 1985, Restoration Management Company has provided 24-hour restoration service for customers when they experience a catastrophe in their home or workplace. With their headquarters in Hayward, California, RMC has 10 regional locations in Northern and Southern California, as well as locations in Seattle, Washington; Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas; Phoenix, Arizona; and the Denver, Colorado metro areas. When emergency services are required RMC delivers high-quality and rapid water damage restoration as well as smoke, fire, environmental and catastrophic restoration services. We stand ready with our highly-trained, experienced, and customer-focused restoration technicians.
Restoration Management Company www.RMC.com


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