PO Box 5426

Berkeley, CA 94705


Make your house safe with Defensible Space

Trees may burn, but your house can survive.  Learn how and why.

Make simple, but crucial preparations in your "Home Ignition Zone."

MUST-SEE VIDEO: "Your Home Can Survive A Wildfire," explains Jack Cohen, U.S. Forest Service research fire scientist. 
MUST-SEE VIDEO:  U.S. Forest Service FIRE SCIENCES LAB researcher Jack Cohen dispels popular misconceptions about wildfire and house ignitions.

What's the most effective way to protect your home from a wildland fire?


Common sense preparations you can do yourself at your home have been proven by fire scientists and researchers to offer significant protection from wildfire.  You can make your house "Ignition Resistant" in the area around your house (and other structures on your property) in what fire scientists call the "Home Ignition Zone."


Most houses in a wildfire are ignited by firebrands (burning embers) from burning trees, shrubs, grasses, and other houses and structures.  If these firebrands have nothing to ignite at your house—no dry leaves, brush, pine needles, firewood, etc.—your house will not ignite, and can survive even a nearby fire.

Put another way, if you keep your roof, gutters, and yard clear of fine, dry, combustible materials, and firebrands from entering attic vents, a wildfire or even another house on fire just 100 feet away is far less likely to ignite your house.

Of course other factors play a role, including wind, water, and your home's material construction—especially its roofing material where firebrands land.  Many of the houses that ignited in the 1991 Oakland Hills fire had combustible roofs and were littered with easily ignited debris.




Knowing the causes of wildland and WUI (Wildland-Urban Interface) fires is essential to taking effective preventive measure.  Conversely, taking actions that don't make your house ignition-resistant — like cutting down plants and trees beyond 100 feet from your house — do not offer additional wildfire protection.

In fact, cutting down trees and allowing brush and grasses to take their place, or re-planting a few small trees to "replace" forests can actually increase fire danger. READ WHY.

Once you've prepared your house and property with Defensible Space, there is an additional preparation we make, as a community, to protect against wildfire...

READ: Protecting Our Communities