It’s hard to believe, but summer is right around the corner, and with summer weather comes peak fire season. Now is the time to prepare your home and property for potential wildfires. The recent rain we received has allowed weeds, annual grasses, and other flashy fuels to grow rapidly. As temperatures increase, those fuels will dry out and pose a serious fire hazard.
“While our nation currently confronts the COVID-19 pandemic, peak fire season will also be upon us soon,” warned Fire Chief Fred Cox. “I encourage every resident to do their part in keeping our community fire safe – we don’t need to fight battles on two fronts.”
Within the next couple of weeks, all property owners within the Fire District will receive our annual hazard abatement packet in the mail. The packet outlines our weed abatement requirements and provides information on the steps you can take to create defensible space and further protect your home.
- Introduction Letter
- Weed Abatement Notice
- Prepare Your Home
- Hazard Abatement Requirements
- Building Construction Features
- RSFFPD Evacuation Guidelines 2020
- Fire Wise Facts
- Landscape Requirements 2020
There are three zones within a home’s defensible space. The first zone is the immediate zone, which extends 0-5 feet from a structure. In this critically important area, homeowners should:
- Remove all combustible items within 5’ of a structure including patio furniture etc.
- Remove all dead vegetation, including palm fronds. Any plantings in this zone should be minimal and limited to fire-resistive plants. Do not plant anything directly on or next to the structure. Make sure plants in this zone are low growing up to 18” and keep the landscaping maintained. Hardscaping is preferred.
- Remove combustible mulch within 5 feet of a structure. Mulch will readily ignite and generate surprisingly high flame lengths.
- Clear rain gutters and roofs of all combustible debris such as leaves and pine needles. If possible, install non-combustible gutter screens.
- Fencing within 5’ of a structure should be made of non-combustible material, such as iron, concrete block, or stucco.
- Inspect roof for loose and or missing shingles that could allow embers to get underneath roof tiles or shingles and ignite the roof.
- Make sure eave and attic vents are an approved ember resistant model or screened with a minimum 1/8 inch non-combustible mesh. This prohibits embers of a substantial size getting into attics spaces and continuing to burn and ignite the attic.
- Never store combustible material under decks or porches. Decks and porches should be enclosed or screened to the floor level or wrap the underside of the deck in non-combustible material to prevent the ignition of the deck.
The second zone of defensible space continues from 5-50 feet of a structure. In this zone, homeowners should:
- Remove any dead vegetation including palm fronds and eucalyptus debris (which is highly flammable).
- Plant drought-tolerant, fire-resistive vegetation with irrigation or landscape that requires little to no vegetation.
- Trim back tree branches at least 10 feet from rooftops and chimneys.
- Cut any dead grasses to a maximum of 4” in height.
- Depending on the size, propane tanks should be at least a minimum of 10 feet away from structures, vegetation, and other combustible materials.
- Firewood should be stacked neatly a minimum of 30 feet away from a structure.
- Trash enclosures or trashcans should be a minimum of 10 feet away from a structure and stored with the lid on.
- Limb up trees to at least 6 feet above the ground. If possible, remove shrubs directly underneath trees this helps to prevent a tree canopy fire, which is very difficult to extinguish.
- Keep mulch or groundcovers to 6” deep or less.
The final zone extends from 50-100 feet from a structure. In this zone, homeowners should:
- Remove any dead vegetation, cut native grasses to 4” in height.
- Thin native vegetation to provide separation between shrubs or small groupings of shrubs that is equal to 3 times the height of the shrub for flat areas, 4 times the height for moderate slopes, and 6 times the height for steep slopes.
- Limb up trees to at least 6 feet above the ground and remove dead palm fronds and eucalyptus debris.
- Remove firewood stacked directly on the property line to a location of 30’ off the property line.
Over the next few months, Rancho Santa Fe Fire Prevention Specialists will be conducting hazard abatement inspections throughout the entire fire district. Properties that are not in compliance with our hazard requirements will receive a notice to abate the hazard. If the hazard is not completed within the allowed timeframe, the Fire District does have the ability to force abate the property; however, fire officials would rather work with homeowners to ensure timely and more cost-effect abatement is achieved.
For more information about our hazard abatement efforts, please refer to the hazard abatement packet when it arrives. If you would like a complimentary inspection of your property, or if you have concerns about another property, please email us at email@example.com.