Defensible Space

Another informative article from Chris Anthony, CAL FIRE Amador-El Dorado Unit and the Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team about defensible space in the Lake Tahoe Basin:

Fire agencies have begun Defensible Space Inspections in communities and neighborhoods throughout the Lake Tahoe Basin.  Good defensible space is a critical component to developing a Fire Adapted Community that can withstand the impact of a wildfire.  Additionally, defensible space can reduce the potential for loss of life and injury; minimize damage to homes, land and infrastructure; and reduce firefighting costs.

“People need to start now and begin clearing defensible space around their homes and other structures” says CAL FIRE Amador El Dorado Unit Chief Mike Kaslin.  “With a fourth year of drought, it is critical that everyone get to work today to give their home the best chance of surviving a wildfire.”

“We are very encouraged to see the amount of work that is currently being done in our communities to clear defensible space.  We, along with our partners, are here to assist homeowners and businesses to clear defensible space and become a Fire Adaptive Community in Lake Tahoe”, said Tahoe Douglas Fire Chief Ben Sharit.

Keys to creating defensible space are:

Noncombustible Area: Create a Noncombustible Area at least 5 feet wide around the base of your home. This area needs to have a very low potential for ignition from flying embers.

Lean, Clean and Green Area extends up to 30 feet (or your property line whichever is closer) from every structure on your property:

  • Remove all dead and dying vegetation.
  • Remove pine needles and leaf litter from your roof and rain gutters.
  • Relocate woodpiles well away from your home.
  • Trim trees so that they are a minimum of ten feet from your chimney and roof line.
  • Remove “ladder fuels” (low-level vegetation that could allow fire to spread from the ground to shrubs and bushes to the tree canopies).
  • If you are planning on removing any trees, all trees larger than 14 inches in diameter will require a permit from TRPA or your local fire department.

Wildland Fuel Reduction extends from 30 feet to 100 feet (or to your property line whichever is closer)

  • The key is to keep plant material separated from each other both horizontally and vertically, this prevents the vegetation from acting like a ladder and allowing the fire to move from the ground to the tree canopies.
  • Cut annual grasses down to a maximum of four inches in height.

Learn more at

This entry was posted in blog and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *