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Although Santa Cruz County has experienced recent rains and has more rain in the forecast, maintaining defensible space around your home should still be a priority project on your radar. As we have seen with recent devastating fires like those in Paradise, maintaining defensible space around your home is critical to help increase the odds that your home will survive a wildfire (even if you live within town or city limits!). Defensible space maintenance should be something you do all year round, even during the rainy season.
How can you create defensible space? Here are some steps:
How big should my defensible space be?
One hundred feet in all directions from your home is the legal distance. If your property does not extend to one hundred feet, you should create a defensible space as far as the property line. The one hundred foot space is divided into two sections – The ‘Lean, Clean and Green Zone’ and the ‘Reduced Fuel Zone’.
The Lean, Clean and Green Zone – the first thirty feet.
In this area, existing vegetation should be green and growing. Excessive growth should be trimmed and dead vegetation removed.
The Reduced Fuel Zone – The remaining seventy feet of the 100-foot Defensible Space.
Trees and shrubs in this area should be planted far enough apart so that they do not contribute to the spread of fire. Existing trees and shrubs in this area should be trimmed to create space between them. All dead trees and vegetation should be removed from this area.
What else can you do to protect your home from a wildfire?
What are some other fire safety tips for rural locations?
These are some tips to protect your home and family during wildfire season. More information about fire safety can be obtained from your local Fire Department. A publication titled “Living With Fire in Santa Cruz County” can provide more information about defensible space and wildfires. It is available from Santa Cruz County fire agencies.