Home and Property

Photo: Greg Doyle

family emergency plan


Fire science has shown that in most wildfires, houses ignite and burn not from the actual flames but from flying embers or “firebrands” that sail through the air ahead of and around the fire itself. Embers can start small spot fires in gutters, under eaves and in flower beds, which then may engulf a home in as little as 30-45 seconds. You can harden your home to better defend against firebrands by following these simple maintenance tips.


Keep the roof and gutters free from debris.

Clear the ground five feet out from the structure of any combustible material such as leaves, decorative bark, and dead undergrowth.

Cover vents with 1/8-inch metal screen (builder’s standard ¼ inch screen may not stop embers).

Prune trees and vegetation so foliage does not touch the house. Remove climbing vines, which can act as fire "ladders".

Fill gaps, cracks and openings larger than ¼ inch on siding and trim with caulk or other material.

Keep the area around, under and over propane tanks clear of leaves and tree branches.

Clear debris from under wood decks and don’t store flammable materials there.

Position firewood stacks at least 30 feet from the house.


As a property owner, it’s your legal responsibility to properly clear vegetation up to 200 feet around all structures (or out to your own property line, whichever is less) according to LA County regulations. The goal is to create a defensible space to help reduce the intensity of an approaching wildfire and make it safer for firefighters to defend your home.

Defensible space does not mean clear cutting trees and all vegetation in an attempt to create a “moonscape.” It means thinning shrubs, creating space around plants, limbing up trees, and clearing dead vegetation. You should maintain year-round defensible space because you never know when a wildfire could start.

To learn about specific brush clearance requirements for your property, please contact Fire Station 69 at 310-455-1766.