Ready, Set, Prepare!

Green houseSummer is almost here, and with it the incomparable San Diego weather. Beaches, barbecues, and endless summer sun. During these months, our homes offer us shade and shelter. But sometimes we need to return the favor and take a few simple precautions to help keep our homes safe and sound, especially as fire season approaches.

ReadySanDiego has a few simple home fire preparedness tips to help you make the most of your summer. Check them out below:

100′ DEFENSIBLE SPACE
MAKE YOUR HOME FIRE SAFE

A Defensible Space of 100 feet around your home is required by law. It protects your home while providing a safe area for firefighters.

1) “Lean, Clean and Green Zone”

Lawn, weeds, and other landscaping in the first 50 feet around your home should be mowed and properly maintained.

Thinning and pruning the brush and the trees in the first 50 feet around your home is critical.

Clean all needles and trees from your roof and gutters.

Trim tree limbs at least 10 feet from chimneys, and remove dead branches hanging over your home or garage.

The law requires a screen over your chimney outlet of not more that 1/2″ mesh.

2) “Reduced Fuel Zone”
Create horizontal and vertical spacing between plants to improve your chance of stopping a wildfire before it destroys your home.

Remove lower tree limbs to reduce the risk of a vertical fire ladder.

“Additional Tips”
Use care when operating equipment such as lawnmowers. One small spark may start a fire; a string trimmer is much safer.

Check with your local fire department for additional requirements.

defensible-spaceTo reduce the danger to life and property from destructive brush fires, residents are asked to:

  • Maintain effective Defensible Space by removing, modifying, or thinning highly ignitable shrubs, trees, or plants and other flammable materials from areas within 100 horizontal feet of structures.
  • In the unincorporated area, the 100 foot fuel modification zone is divided into two zones as follows.
  1. Zone one: Area within a 50 foot radius of any structure. Must be modified/treated and planted with fire resistive plants.
  2. Zone two: Area between 50 to 100 feet from the structure. Native vegetation may remain, but it must be thinned by 50% when the parcel is compared to the natural wildland setting adjacent to it. All dead and dying vegetation must be removed. Grass and other vegetation less than 18” in height above the ground need not be removed when necessary to stabilize the soil and prevent erosion.
  • Remove all dead wood from trees adjacent to or overhanging a building. Remove limbs from bottom 1/3 of tree, up to a maximum of 6 feet above the ground, and all limbs within 10 foot radius of the chimney stack opening; remove debris from under trees.
  • Remove leaves, needles, or other dead vegetative growth from all roofs and gutters.
  • Stack firewood 30 feet away from structures.
  • Remove garbage, refuse, rubbish, trash, cuttings, fallen limbs, trimmings, or other easily ignitable waste material from property.
  • Remove all combustible vegetation within 10 feet along both sides of roadways and driveways.
  • Maintain a 13 foot 6 inch vertical clearance over all roads and driveways for emergency vehicles.
  • Remove all items that would easily ignite such as trash or shrubs and trees within 10 feet of propane tanks.
  • Display address at a location plainly visible to emergency vehicles on the street or roadway fronting your property.

These are the minimum requirements. Your particular parcel may have additional requirements based on topography and native plant conditions. In addition, you may consider locating patio furniture away from structures, to avoid an ignition source.

For more information on disaster preparedness (including earthquakes and floods), visit ReadySanDiego.