Defensible Space

The latest updates and requirements

Los Angeles garden showing the 5-foot no-fuel zone guidelines. Photo courtesy of Theodore Payne Foundation. Credit Saxon Holt.

From the House Out

Today’s fire experts are clear: The most effective and efficient way to protect lives and property is from “the house out” rather than from the wildlands in. This means addressing the potential flammability of homes, around homes, and communities first. Following the 2018 Camp Fire, retiring Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlott urged California’s leaders to “raise the bar” on what we’re doing to protect communities and life at the wildland urban interface. His suggestions and others’ range from building code updates and high tech wildfire warning systems to stricter requirements for approving new developments in known high fire risk areas. Today’s recommendations for fire-prone communities are rapidly evolving, so get to know your know local fire safe council and check this page often for update.

Defensible Space Guidelines and Information

Defensible space can help reduce fire danger around your home by addressing three primary areas:

  • Layout – Space between plants and other fuel
  • Plants – High moisture / low flammability / low fire energy release plants
  • Maintenance – A well-kept and monitored property

Zone by zone requirement specifications

Please visit the following resources for the latest requirements.

    1. Cal Fire’s
    2. California Fire Safe Council
    3. UCANR
    4. FireWise USA

Do you live in a State Responsibility Area?

State Responsibility Areas (SRA) are recognized by the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection as areas where Cal Fire is the primary emergency response agency responsible for fire suppression and prevention. Look here to see if you live in a SRA.

Download your free copy of the updated Fire Recovery Guide here.

Natural recovery in spring 2013 after the 2012 North Fire along Cow Mountain in Mendocino County Photo: Kerry Heise

Give Feedback

How can we improve the Guide? We’d love to hear from you.

The land healing on its own with resprouting shrubs and germinating wildflowers. Photo: Reny Parker

Download the Guide

Complete our quick form to access your free copy.

Nature recovering after the 2015 Valley Fire along Butts Canyon. Photo: Reny Parker


CNPS is seeking funds to distribute the Guide to fire-affected communities.

Join Us!

Join Us!

Get connected with a community making a difference!
Support Our Work!

Support Our Work!

Give today to help fund CNPS priority projects.