Defensible space is a term used by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. It is the yard space around your home that must be cleared of flammable vegetation to reduce the chance that a wildfire will destroy your home.
By law, in California, you must clear an area 30 feet from your home of surrounding flammable vegetation. This includes keeping tree limbs 10 feet from a home chimney and adding a less than 1/2 inch mesh screen over the chimney.
You must also reduce flammable vegetation an additional 70 feet surrounding your home. This includes:
Trimming tree limbs from the ground to keep the fire from climbing a vertical ladder into the tree.
Removing plants from under trees.
Spacing plants vertically and horizontally to help keep fire from jumping from one to the other.
Remove all needles from your roof and gutter.
You can download a pdf of the requirements at Cal Fires Website. These requirements are for California, but the tips apply anywhere. Check your local laws for your area’s requirements.
We were trapped by a Wildfire fire in 2007. The fire was called the Angora Fire and happened in tha area of South Lake Tahoe, California. We were camping and had just a few minutes to evacuate our fifth wheel trailer from our campground. We happened to have a great knife with us that helped us cut tie lines and reduce the amount of time it took to move out. We were able to move, but could not get out of the area. We had to spend the night at Pope Beach and watch the fire progress toward us. You can read about that story by clicking A good folding knife can save you.
This type of fire can happen in any area that has grass, trees and homes. Many people lost their homes in this fire and when we last checked in 2014, many of the homes were still in various stages of rebuilding.
Don’t be a victim of wild fire. Have defensible space.