The Rancho Santa Fe Post

Helpful Fire Prevention Tips for Landscaping and Vegetation

As the weather begins to warm up and we head into the summer months, it is more important than ever to prepare your homes for the fire season.

“While the increase in rainfall this winter was welcome, it produced an abundance of grass throughout Southern California, which will just add additional fuel for an already flammable landscape,” Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott told the Sun.

To brush up on fire safety preparation, take a look at some common tips for homeowners below:

  1. Homeowners should clear any brush growing close to their homes. California law requires a 100-foot defensible space that should include a lean, clean and green zone within 30 feet of your home. Shorter plants are safer in this 30-foot zone and homeowners should avoid planting juniper, pine and palms. The remaining 70 feet should be cleared of fallen leaves, needles, twigs, bark, cones, pods, small branches, ect.
  2. Remove tree limbs that are touching your house or deck. If tree limbs are intruding on telephone lines, make sure to call your power company for removal.
  3. Clean rain gutters of leaf and needle accumulation.
  4. Always keep the garden hose connected to the faucet.
  5. Preferably, grasses should not exceed four inches in height.
  6. Make sure fuels are separated. This depends on your property’s characteristics. For more information check out the graphics below for horizontal and vertical clearance.
  7. Private gates must be equipped with a fire district gate access switch and/or strobe sensor so firefighters can access your property. Also, make sure you address is visible.
  8. As always, try to plant native, drought-tolerant and fire-resistant species that produce the least amount of fine fuel.
  9. In the case of an emergency, plan and review your home escape plan.

For further information on specific wildfire preparedness and evacuation please visit the RSF Fire Protection District’s prepare and prevent page. For other useful information, visit their general website or call the Fire Prevention Bureau at 858-756-5971.


Defensible Space

Horizontal Clearance

Vertical Clearance


Photo credit: Cal Fire