Creating Defensible Space

Three zones of defense are recommended against encroaching wildfire. Maintain a minimum distance of 100-150 feet around your house. Greater distances are recommended for homes on steep slopes or windswept exposures. The managed vegetation in these zones creates breaks in the fires path slowing advancing flames. Plants in each zone have a distinct function.

  • Zone One (30-foot minimum from the perimeter of the house). Plant low-growing, fire resistant plants including perennials, annuals, groundcover and grasses. Water regularly, especially during droughts and burn bans. Remove all dry plant litter.
  • Zone Two (30-60 feet from the house) includes slow growing drought tolerant shrubs and ground covers to keep fire near ground level.
  • Zone Three (60-150 feet from the house) requires removing over-growth and major pruning every three to five years. Native trees should be thinned. Specimen trees can be planted at the edge of the zone if they are well tended. Keep an eye on any limbs that may come in contact with power lines. If you are not equipped to trim them, call the power company and let them know about the hazard.