San Diego County Fire Authority calls for homeowners to clear defensible space

Posted at 1:52 PM, Jun 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-14 16:52:21-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The San Diego County Fire Authority marked ten years of service to the community Thursday with a call for homeowners to clear defensible space on their properties.

The fire agency was established by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors to improve fire protection and emergency medical services. Before its creation, some of the region’s most fire critical zones were defended by volunteers using money from bake sales and spotty federal grants, Jacob said.

The County Fire Authority will have its work cut out for it, Jacob said, noting that there have been 2,100 fires so far this year, compared to 1,700 at this time last year.

“Now we’re facing probably the longest most dangerous fire season that we have ever seen,” Jacob said.

Cal Fire San Diego Unit Chief Tony Mecham asked all county residents to do four things:

  • Have their address clearly posted on their home
  • Create defensible space around their property
  • Have a personal escape plan
  • Register for Alert San Diego to get emergency notifications


Defensible space should be cleared in a zone of 100 feet around a home, free of any potential fuel in a fire, firefighters say. County officials said the need for defensible space became evident in the 2003 firestorms where a buildup of dead plant life contributed to the destruction of some properties.



Your local fire agency may require you to clear additional vegetation by a written letter.  You are not required to cross your property line to clear the 100 feet.  The neighboring property owner may be required to clear the additional distance by the fire agency.

The fire agency for your community may send you a letter, requiring you to clear extra vegetation. You are not obligated to cross your property line to clear the 100 feet of defensible space; that responsibility will fall on your neighbor.

Potential fuels that must be cleared include:

  • Grasses
  • Dead or dying plants
  • Branches close to homes 
  • Green waste and recycling

If you’re not capable of clearing defensible space due to physical or financial limitations, the County has assistance available.

County fire officials encourage homeowners to plant fire-resistant, irrigated landscaping in the first 50 feet of the 100 feet from their homes to prevent soil erosion. For a list of what to plant, click HERE.