FIRE HARDENING AND DEFENSIBLE SPACE LAWS

An image depicting many of the ways that a home can prepare and maintain defensive space.

Creating and maintaining defensible space is essential for increasing your home’s chance of surviving a wildfire. It’s the buffer that homeowners are required to create on their property between a structure and the plants, brush and trees or other items surrounding the structure that could catch fire. This space is needed to slow the spread of wildfire and improves the safety of firefighters defending your home.

Defensible Space Law: effective July 1, 2021 – Defensible space is the term for a buffer zone that homeowners create between a structure on the property and any flammable grass, trees, shrubs, or wildland area that surround it. Existing state and local laws require certain property owners to maintain defensible space on their property. Sellers of such properties will need to provide documentation that their property is in compliance with defensible space laws, or buyers will be required to agree to obtain such documentation of compliance in the future.  This law applies to: sales of residential one to four properties; condominiums or other common interest development units; or manufactured homes; where the property is located in a high or very high fire hazard severity zone; when TDS is required.

Home Hardening Disclosure Law: effective January 1, 2021 – “Home hardening” refers to building resistant materials and home features that protect a home from catching fire. Beginning January 1, 2021, sellers will be required to complete a new home hardening disclosure (Fire Hardening and Defensible Space Advisory, FHDS) for properties that are: within high or very high fire hazard zones; built before 2010; residential one to four properties; condominiums or other common interest development units; or manufactured homes.

The cover of CalFire's Defensible Space brochure.

Click on image above for CalFire's Readiness Brochure and Abatement Info