Sonoma County’s highly flammable vegetation and warm, dry summer and fall temperatures place local communities at significant risk to wildfire. Good defensible space is critical to minimize the risk of catastrophic wildfire losses.
Defensible Space does not mean clearcutting all vegetation or removing large trees! Defensible space is the buffer that landowners are required to create on their property between structures and the plants, brush or other items surrounding the structure that could ignite in the event of a fire. Critical to protect homes from wildfire, defensible space includes a "lean, clean and green" zone 30 feet (or to the property line) from buildings, and a "reduced fuels zone," which can have more natural vegetation, from 30' to 100' (or to the property line) from structures. The primary concerns are dead and dying vegetation and plant debris, low-growing brushy plants, and low tree limbs that fire can use to cross the ground towards buildings or use as a ladder to get into tree tops. Having good defensible space will help decrease the intensity of oncoming wildfire and provide an area from which firefighters can safely defend structures.
Compliance to defensible space standards is required by state and local regulations in all of unincorporated Sonoma County. Defensible space standards must be maintained year round. Defensible space around an individual home is great, but when all properties in a neighborhood are compliant, the entire community is made safer.
We encourage you to contact our office with any questions you may have about the program or defensible space requirements. Our goal is to work with residents to achieve communities that are better adapted to a wildfire-prone environment.