University of California
Fire in California

Wildfire Preparation

Wildfire will always be a part of the California landscape. Helping homeowners and residents achieve greater wildfire resiliency will take a coupled approach and greater awareness of ember protection. Homes survive wildfire through a combination of:

  1. Careful design and maintenance of landscaping

  2. Awareness and management of combustible materials on the property (e.g., leaf litter, wood piles, and lawn furniture).

  3. Incorporation of fire- and ember-resistant construction materials with appropriate installation and maintenance.

Use the following resources to understand your risks, identify resources, and to develop strategies to substantially improve the odds a home will survive a future wildfire. These actions do not have to be costly, but they do require an understanding of the three types of exposures a home may experience when threatened by wildfire.

Identify Your Local Fire Hazard Ranking

Click on the map to find information about fire hazards in your area.

Create Defensible Space

Defensible space does more than just preventing fire from reaching your home and giving you safe evacuation routes. Defensible space also gives fire professionals a safe or "defendable" area to stage their personnel and equipment.

Reduce Fuels in the Landscape

Work strategically to thin and prune trees, mow grass, and reduce shrubs along evacuation routes, roads, and other control points. These broader actions can help reduce the energy of an oncoming fire and create places for fire personnel to work. 

Harden Your Home to Wildfire

Whether you are building a new home or caring for a older home, there are simple actions to take to improve the chance the home will survive wildfire exposures. 


Fire-Safe Landscaping

Plant placement is the most important criteria when it comes to plant selection.  Vegetation that touches the siding, is located in front of windows or under eaves and vents, and/or under or near a deck will increase the likelihood that a home will be ignited from wildfire.
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