Defensible Space for Fire Prevention

Icon depicting zones around a house to clear defensible space around ones home for fire safety

Immediate Zone - 5 foot Radius

Long standing residents and newcomers alike are requested to clear a safe and defensible area five feet around structures on their property, from the furthest attached exterior point of their home or structure.

  • Remove flammable materials away from this area; including mulch, flammable plants, green waste (leaves, weeds, trimmings, brush), stacked wood, and any other combustibles.
  • Do not stack firewood or other combustibles against the structure.
  • Clear invasive weeds and plants from this area regularly.
  • Keep gutters and your roof clear of dead leaves and debris.
  • Prune trees at least ten feet from chimneys.
  • Repair or replace damaged tiles, screens, and keep vents clean and clear of debris. 1/8 inch metal mesh screening is recommended to reduce embers.
  • Remove belongings being stowed under decks or porches.

Intermediate Zone - 5 to 30 foot Radius

5-30 feet from the furthest exterior part of the home is the Intermediate Zone. Integrating breaks and clearing space in this zone can influence and help to decrease fire behavior.

  • It is suggested to keep native grasses and lawns in this area trimmed to a maximum height of 4 inches.
  • Clear flammable plant matter and green waste debris from under and nearby large stationary propane tanks.
  • Remove ladder fuels (flammable plants and items) from beneath tree canopies.
  • Consider and create fuel breaks such as walkways, paths, and driveways to deter the spread of a fire, should one occur on the property.

Additional Landscaping Considerations:

  • If possible, space trees with a minimum of 18ft between them.
  • It is recommended trees and shrubs in this zone be limited to small, spaced-out clusters. This creates spatial breaks between flammable materials.
  • Consider tree placement so mature canopies are further than ten feet away from structures on the property.
  • Prune trees (tall enough) six to ten feet from the ground.

Extended Zone - 30 to 100 Foot Radius

These are defensible space precautions to take 30- 100 feet, and beyond, on the property.

  • Don't let flammable plant material or garbage accumulate in heaps or piles.
  • Remove dead plant and tree material (including packrats nests) from the property.
  • Clear flammable vegetation from surrounding structures.
  • Make a 6ft cleared space at the base of saguaros.

Successful Example of Defensible Space in Action, Protecting a Home from a Fire Outbreak

Successful example of defensible space protecting a home from a fire break-out