100 Feet of Defensible Space is the Law

In January 2005 a new state law became effective that extended the defensible space clearance around homes and structures from 30 feet to 100 feet. Proper clearance to 100 feet dramatically increases the chance of your house surviving a wildfire. This defensible space also provides for firefighter safety when protecting homes during a wildland fire.

Check out the California Department of Forestry Website and Fire Safe Sonoma for more information.

Fire is a fact of life in our community. The climate and scenery that make this such a desirable place to live, also make it desirable for fire. It's really of matter of when, not if a fire will occur. The individual impact of these fires will vary greatly depending on your family's preparedness. All the fire engines in the world won't be able to stop a fire if the conditions are right and you haven't taken these simple and common sense steps:


•Create a "defensible space" by removing all flammable vegetation at least 100 feet from all structures.

•Landscape with fire resistant plants.

•On slopes or high fire hazard areas, remove flammable vegetation out to 100 feet or more.

•Space native trees and shrubs at least 10 feet apart.

•For trees taller that 18 feet, remove lower branches within six feet of the ground.

•Plant trees which will not interfere with power lines.

•Keep your driveway accessible and clearly marked. Fire engines need access which is approximately 12 feet wide and 12 tall.

In the event of a major incident in our district, it is very likely that many more homes will be threatened than fire engines are available. If you haven't taken some of these steps, it's unlikely crews will be able to save your home and may be forced to drive down the road and find a home that's defensible. Help us help you!


•Have your chimney cleaned regularly.

•Make sure and have a spark arrestor on your chimney.

•Clear all leaves and needles from your roof and gutters.

•Never store cleaned-out fireplace ashes in the garbage or in combustible containers. This sounds like common sense but many people don't realize the ashes can smolder for days.

•Never overload the capacity of electrical outlets.

Year Round

•Change your smoke detector batteries twice a year, at daylight savings switch.

•Designate a meeting place outside your home.

•Secure your water heater and never store flammable liquids such as gasoline in the same area.

•Discuss stop, drop, and roll techniques with your family.