It's wildfire season and a new law will go into effect on July 1 which will require owners of properties located in high and very high fire hazard severity zones to maintain the required defensible space around their structures in order to minimize fire risk.
This new law requires homeowners, either before selling or after purchasing their home, to obtain documentation that the property is in compliance with the defensible space law(s). It's called the Home Hardening disclosure. A seller must answer 6 questions and either provide an inspection clearance or pass the responsibility onto the next owner. Who will provide an inspection? We assume Cal Fire or a local fire department. Stay tuned as we learn more!
What is defensible space?
Defensible space is the name for a 100 foot area that owners of properties located in fire zones must maintain around structures on their property. Creating and maintaining defensible space is important to slow the spread of wildfire and reduce the likelihood that the structure will catch fire. It also is important for protecting firefighters who may be on the property defending the structure.
In Zone 1 - Defensible space requires homeowners to:
• Remove all dead plants, grass and weeds (vegetation).
• Remove dead or dry leaves and pine needles from your yard, roof and rain gutters.
• Remove branches that hang over your roof and keep dead branches 10 feet away from your chimney.
• Trim trees regularly to keep branches a minimum of 10 feet from other trees.
• Relocate wood piles to Zone 2 if they are close to the home
• 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 extends 100 feet out from buildings and other structures. Property owners must do the following:
• Cut or mow annual grass down to a maximum height of 4 inches.
• Create horizontal space between shrubs and trees.
• Create vertical space 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.
For more information, please see Cal Fire’s website discussing defensible space requirements at https://www.readyforwildfire.org/prepare-for-wildfire/get-ready/defensible-space/