Wildfire-Defensible Zones

Fire is capricious. It can find the weak link in your home’s fire protection scheme and gain the upper hand because of a small, overlooked or seemingly inconsequential factor. While you may not be able to accomplish all measures listed on this page (and there are no guarantees), each will increase your home’s, and possibly your family’s, safety and survival during a wildfire.

Start with the easiest and least expensive actions. Begin your work closest to your house and move outward. Keep working on the more difficult items until you have completed your entire project.

Defensible Space & Firewise Annual Checklist


  • Attic, roof, eaves and foundation vents are screened and in good condition
  • Branches overhanging the roof and chimney are removed
  • A checklist for fire safety needs inside the home has been completed
  • Chimney screens are in place and in good condition
  • The driveway is wide enough: the clearance of trees and branches is adequate for fire and emergency equipment
  • Fire extinguishers are checked and in working condition
  • Grass and weeds are mowed to a low height
  • An outdoor water supply is available, complete with a hose and nozzle that can reach all parts of the house
  • Road signs and your name and house number are posted and easily visible
  • Roof and gutters are clear of debris
  • Stilt foundations and decks are enclosed, screened or walled up
  • There is an easily accessible tool storage area with rakes, hoes, axes and shovels for use in case of fire
  • Trash and debris accumulations are removed from the defensible space
  • You have practiced family fire drills and your fire evacuation plan
  • Your escape routes, meeting points and other details are known and understood by all family members
  • Trees and shrubs are properly thinned and pruned within the defensible space, slash from the thinning is disposed of