DEFENSIBLE SPACE WORKS
Defensible Space slows the spread of wildfire and creates a buffer zone to help firefighters and first responders safely defend your home.
Preparing your home for fire season is a year-round effort. Both a fire-resistant structure and defensible space are necessary.
Key components include:
• Design: Plan accordingly using defensible space best practices.
• Materials: Use fire-resistant materials.
• Frequent Maintenance: Keep vegetation irrigated and clear debris often.
Reproduced with permission from the National Fire Protection Association, copyright © 2019, NFPA, Quincy, MA. All rights reserved. This material is not the complete and official position of the NFPA on the referenced subject, which can be obtained through the NFPA website at www.nfpa.org.
LANDSCAPING WITH WILDFIRE IN MIND
Under the right conditions, all plants will burn. However, there are plants you can select that are less prone to fire. When selecting fire-resistant plants, look for the following qualities: low volume of fuel, high-moisture content, and low amounts of oils and resins. Both the Sierra Nevada Alliance and the Redbud Chapter of the California Native Plant Society provide helpful resources for native, fire-resistant landscaping in Nevada County.
CREATE DEFENSIBLE SPACE
IMMEDIATE ZONE 0-5 FEET AROUND YOUR HOME
- Create a no-fuel, or low-fuel, zone 0-5 ft around your home
- Clean roofs and gutters of dead leaves, all debris and needles that could catch embers. Maintain clean gutters.
- Use hard surfaces, such as concrete or fire-resistant materials.
- If planting, use widely spaced, non-woody, low herbaceous vegetation away from vents, windows, and interior corners.
- Remove combustibles. Store firewood and flammable materials at least 30 ft away from your home, garage, or deck. Never store flammable materials under your deck.
- Shrubs and trees are not recommended in this zone. Trim back overhanging branches 10ft from your roof.
INTERMEDIATE ZONE 5-30 FEET AROUND YOUR HOME
- Create vegetation “islands”, to break up continuous fuels. Remove ladder fuels.*
- Get rid of leaf and needle debris from the yard. Keep grass under 8 in.
- Keep vegetation well irrigated and free from debris.
EXTENDED ZONE 30-100 FEET AROUND YOUR HOME
- Create and maintain a minimum of 10 ft between the tops of trees. Remove ladder fuels.*
- Remove dead trees and shrubs.
- As a property owner in Nevada County, what is my responsibility regarding vegetation management on my land?
- What is Public Resources Code 4291?
- What are the main differences between Nevada County’s Ordinance and Public Resources Code 4291?
- What is the 50% cost share associated with Nevada County’s Ordinance?
- How do I work with neighbors who may not have defensible space on their land?
- What are the private roadway clearance requirements associated with Nevada County’s Hazardous Vegetation Ordinance?
- How do I file a complaint regarding a violation of Nevada County’s Ordinance?
- What happens if my property does not pass an initial inspection for a violation of Nevada County’s Ordinance?
- Who will be inspecting my property for violation(s) of Nevada County’s Ordinance?
- May I appeal the initial Notice to Abate I receive?
- Can the Office of Emergency Services recommend a defensible space contractor?
- Are there resources for residents who may need financial assistance?