Fire season is year-round in Southern California - How to create a defensible space
Last updated 10/29/2009 at Noon
Defensible space is typically the 100-foot-radius zone around your structure and is broken down into two zones. Zone 1 is the first 30 feet and is called the “Lean, Clean and Green” zone.
• Trim back brush and remove any dead or dying trees, plants, grasses and any flammable items in a 100-foot radius from the house.
• Cut low-hanging branches up to six feet off the ground and within 10 feet of touching a building, chimney or power lines. (Call SDG&E before trimming near power lines.)
• Remove flammable vegetation at least 10 feet on each side of your driveway. Trim overhead branches to allow at least 15 feet of vertical clearance within the driveway for emergency and escape vehicle clearance.
• Seniors in the community may have difficulty maintaining their property. Your assistance will not only aid in protecting their property, it will help protect your own.
• Plants and trees should be irrigated with deep watering at least once a month for drought-tolerant species and once a week for high water-requiring species.
• Vary the height of plants and give them adequate spacing.
• Avoid planting trees under or near electrical lines because they could contact the lines and ignite.
• Consider using rock mulch (gravel) in areas where you want to prevent vegetation growth, such as under decks or close to combustible materials.
• Regularly clean leaves and debris from your roof, gutters, decks and yard. An ember landing on these dried materials can easily spark a fire. Install gutter guards and vent screens, available at hardware stores.
• Wood piles or other flammable materials should be relocated at least 30 feet from your home or business and more than 10 feet from an above-ground propane tank.
• Use low-growing plants and remove combustible materials under or near windows and glass doors.
For more information regarding undesirable plants and recommended landscaping, visit http://www.ncfireprotectiondistrict.org/pdf/bureau/Recomended Landscaping.pdf.
Reference: “Will you be prepared for the next wildfire” County of San Diego Office of Emergency Services, http://www.readysandiego.org.
For a free wildfire home assessment, contact Division Chief Sid Morel of the North County Fire Protection District at (760) 723-2015.
There will be a free ‘Be Fire-wise’ workshop on November 21 at Southwest Boulder & Stone in Rainbow.
Roger Boddaert is a landscape horticulturist and certified arborist who can be reached at (760) 728-4297.