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Frequently Asked Questions

Is the 100-foot defensible space mandatory?

Starting in 2005, the 100-foot clearance became a requirement under state law. Additionally, insurance companies can require additional clearance and refuse to insure if you do not comply. The law does not require you to go beyond your property line to achieve the 100-foot clearance, but your insurance company can require for more clearance as a requirement to obtain an insurance policy.  If you are in need of assistance to complete your 100-foot defensible space contact FireShield today!

What is defensible space?

Defensible space, sometimes known as survivable space, is an area at least 100 feet in diameter around your home and other structures where combustible fuels (grass, brush, low-hanging limbs, woodpiles, etc.) have been significantly removed or reduced. This includes the home ignition zone (10 feet) where all flammable vegetation and materials have been removed, and the defensible space zone (10 to 100 feet) where fire has will have a difficult time spreading and firefighters can safely defend structures.

Does defensible space mean everything must go?

No, defensible space is not “clear-cutting” or the removal of all vegetation. Creating defensible space involves removal of obvious hazards and the altering or staggering of vegetation to slow the progress of a fire. This could be as simple as replanting with fire-resistant plants, moving a woodpile or cutting back a stand of dry brush.

What does WUI stand for?

WUI is an acronym for Wildland Urban Interface. This is an area where the rural wildland environment merges with residential development and urban living. Typical examples in Santa Barbara County are the communities of Painted Cave and along Highway 192 (Foothill Road) where the Forest Boundary borders multiple communities. These communities have homes and businesses located in close proximity to each other, yet they also enjoy the natural beauty of the Los Padres National Forest and forest-like settings, which surround them.

What can I do if a wildfire strikes my area?

a). Have an evacuation plan for you and your family, including your pets.

b). Follow the instructions from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department and your local fire officials.

Do I live in a high-risk area? How can I tell?

If you live in a forested area, or an area with tall grasses and/or dense brush growth, you are in a high-risk area. This is especially true during periods of low humidity and high winds that we encounter from late April through the end of November (until the rains set in).

I knew someone who did defensible space and they still had to evacuate. What good does it do?

There are no guarantees. Defensible space is a way to greatly improve your odds of saving your home. Even if you do a good job creating defensible space, you still need to pay attention to periods of high fire danger. If conditions are extreme and you live in a fire prone area, think ahead and plan. Identify valuables and those things you cannot replace. Photo albums, memorabilia, and financial records—these are things that may be impossible to replace. You can always buy new furniture, clothes and books. Often you may only have a few minutes to throw your valuables in a car and escape with your life. When the real thing happens, it is usually a time of chaos and panic.


By far the Best Compliance Correction I have ever seen in my career.
Insurance Agent
Park Lane, Montecito

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