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By Kim Murphy
Murphy and Murphy Southern California Realty 

Real Estate Round-Up: Time to create defensible space


Last updated 5/27/2018 at 3:58pm

Last week I wrote about the attacks on home ownership. They are real and we must be vigilant. But there is one more thing every homeowner must be vigilant about and it is fires and creating defensible space around our homes.

It’s hard to believe that we are approaching the summer selling season for real estate. Every week more homes come on the market hoping to take advantage of the summer months when people decide to move to a new home in a new location.

We’ve had such a cool spring, that it is hard to imagine that we will be experiencing some pretty warm days in the near future. With that warm, dry weather comes the risk of fires. The brush around our homes is kindling when combined with fire and wind. With that in mind, it’s time to take a look at how you are maintaining probably your most important financial asset, your home. I’m specifically talking about making sure you have defensible space around your home.

I’d like to think, like I’m sure many of you would, that we can’t possibly have a fire run through our community again. But there is a slogan that applies here and is most applicable and appropriate: “it is better to be safe than sorry”. So, let’s talk about defensible space and make sure we literally “brush” up on it.

Defensible Space Zones

Two zones make up the required 100 feet of defensible space.

Zone 1

Zone 1 extends 50 feet out 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.

● Trim trees regularly to keep branches a minimum of 10 feet from other trees.

● Remove branches that hang over your roof and keep dead branches 10 feet away from your chimney.

● Relocate wood piles into 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 spacing between shrubs and trees.

● Create vertical spacing between grass, shrubs and trees.

● Remove fallen leaves, needles, twigs, bark, cones, and small branches. However, they may be permitted to a depth of 3 inches.

Memorial Day is upon us and the 4th of July not far behind, so don’t get so wrapped up in the fun of summer and forget about taking care of that home you love. Defend your home, and then relax and have fun!

* Check with your local fire department for any additional defensible space or weed abatement ordinances.

Kim Murphy can be reached at or (760) 415-9292 or at 130 N Main Avenue, in Fallbrook. Her broker license is #01229921, and she is on the board of directors for the California Association of Realtors.


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