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Wildfire Preparedness

A large portion of Sonoma County and its population continue to face risks from wildfire. Factors include:

  • Residential land use in wildland areas
  • Homes built without fire resistant construction materials and practices
  • Insufficient defensible space
  • Excessive vegetation fuels within and near residential areas.

Countywide, approximately 165,000 residents live within the defined Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) area. Fire suppression has limited the number of large fires over that past several decades, but 90 fires larger than 300 acres have burned a total of 328,343 acres in Sonoma County between 1945 and 2018. Notably, the 2017 Sonoma Complex fires accounted for nearly one third of this total.

Recent elevated wildfire hazards are influenced by climate change, fuels build up over the decades, community expansion in wildland zones, and rural land use shifts from grazing and timber land management to passive residential uses.

Living with Fire in Sonoma County

This Homeowners Guide not only applies to Sonoma County but to all forested rural and urban/rural areas throughout the state and much of the country.

Download Homeowners Guide

  • The Three R’s of Defensible Space:  Removal, Reduction, and Replacement
  • How to determine and create an effective defensible space
  • Types of dead vegetation and recommended practice for removal
  • Defensible space zones – There are 3 specific defensible space zones: 
    • Home Ignition Zone
    • Defensible Space Zone surrounding your home
    • Wildland Reduction Zone
  • Fire Safe Landscape Design, including a list of fire wise plants, shrubs & trees
  • Fire wise Construction Checklist – is your home ignition prone?

Most Importantly

Look at the last two pages of the Homeowners Guide Titled If Wildfire Approaches. Complete the checklist so you and your family are ready for any wildfire emergency.

There is a checklist for each category listed below.

  • Pre-Fire & Emergency Preparations
  • When a wildfire approaches what should I have with me?
  • What about family members and pets or livestock?
  • How should I prepare my car?
  • What should I take?
  • How should I leave my home?
  • What about the outside of my home?

Contact Information

James Williams

Fire Warden/Fire Marshal

Permit and Resource Management Department

County of Sonoma

Contact us by Phone
Monday – Friday
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Wildfire Prevention

Fire Safe Sonoma [PDF]

Download the Homeowners Guide

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Living With Fire Sonoma County