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Creating Defensible Space

How to Create Defensible Space

Trim back brush and remove any dead or dying trees, plants and grasses, yard clippings, and any flammable items in a 100-foot-radius Prune existing native vegetation to 6 inches above the ground. Cut low-hanging tree branches up 6 feet off the ground and within 10 feet of touching a building, chimney or power line. Low branches may carry a ground fire upwards into the trees. Reduce plants alongside the driveway by at least 10 feet on each side. Trim overhead branches to allow at least 13-1/2 feet of vertical clearance within the driveway for emergency and escape vehicle clearance.


The first 50 feet (Zone 1) of your 100-foot-radius defensible space should consist of fire-resistant, irrigated landscaping. The second 50 feet (Zone 2) may contain native vegetation but it must be kept trimmed and properly spaced adjacent to other plants, trees or structures.

State law requires that residents treat 100 feet of defensible space around their homes. This includes such steps as mowing and properly maintaining lawn and weeds, pruning or removing ignitable trees and shrubs, stacking firewood away from the home and making sure the home’s address is visible to emergency vehicles.

Creating defensible space protects a home while providing a safe area for firefighters.

How Can I Prepare?

  1. Prepare by registering your mobile phones with the AlertSanDiego emergency notification system
  2. Protect your home by creating and maintaining a defensible space around your home
  3. Modify your home’s exterior to make it less vulnerable to burning embers


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