Everything You Need to Know About Wildfires: Defensible Radius Zone

The term “defensible radius” easily conjures up images of large scale blockbuster movies of epic proportions with A- list casts and billion dollar budgets. It is not the sort of term that generally rolls off the tongue for the average suburban homeowner. While it might be common in your vocabulary, it’s likely a new term for many people. It is a term that would most certainly benefit anyone that resides in a fire prone area. 

California residents know all too well the dangers and destruction of wildfire. Fire season is real and it hits every year, without fail. In the last five years alone some of the most destructive fires in California’s history have laid waste to state resources and homes across hundreds of miles. Every year more and more resources are implemented to reduce the loss but nothing can protect against fire damage with absolute certainty. 

While more populated regions can be a moderate safeguard against fire season damage, no areas are fully protected from the possibility of these dangers. As a homeowner one of the proactive actions that you can take is to create that “defensible radius” large or small around your home to insulate from as much of the probability of exposure as possible. 

The defensible radius around your home will serve as a buffer of protection and preparation should fire danger approach. This buffer will serve several purposes including a boundary for fire crews to defend your home and land, a zone to keep flames at a distance keeping radiant heat removed from the structure. The zones are as follows:

  • Zone 1: extends 30 feet out from the structure and has the highest level of standards and probability of protecting your home. It is crucial to keep this zone free from all debris and dead and dry vegetation. Additionally utilizing fire retardant vegetation and materials in this zone will increase protection aspects. Cutting and removing all branches from nearby trees and maintaining a space of at least 10 feet above or near the roofline is necessary. 
  • Zone 2: extends an additional 100 feet out from your home structure. In this zone it is necessary to keep completely clear, free from any dead or overgrown vegetation, dried plants and materials and keep grass a maximum of four inches. 

Apart from the two zone barrier above it is also imperative to outfit your property with fire resistant roofing and structure materials for sheds, decks and patio covers. 

Safety in preparation and prevention is key. A constant stream of assessment, improvement and updates will be a substantial resource as fire season approaches. While no single action will provide absolute protection, constant attention to your home and property will not only improve its value but undoubtedly improve your peace of mind as the seasons come and go. 

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