2 What is defensible space?
Defensible space is a law as well as an approach to vegetation management. It includes an understanding of wildfire behavior and contribution of plants to wildfire intensity. It recognizes the risks posed by wildfire to us by our natural surroundings and our vegetation management choices. Another term used in the context of defensible space planning is the “Home Ignition Zone” or HIZ. The HIZ primarily determines a home’s ignition potential based on the proximity to available fuel types within 100 feet or more from a home.
Defensible space is the area around a house/structure and reaching toward an oncoming wildfire. This is an area where the vegetation has been modified to reduce the wildfire threat and to provide an opportunity for firefighters to effectively defend the house/structure. Simply put, defensible space is a zone where vegetation and fire fuels have been modified to reduce or stop fire spread. The goal is to save homes and lives.
The state law governing defensible space can be found on the CAL FIRE Web site at www.fire.ca.gov. Reference Senate Bill 1595, dated September 2008.
The Napa County Fire Hazard Abatement Ordinance can be found on the county Web site at: www.co.napa.ca.us
The City of Napa 2009 Weed Abatement Ordinance and information can be found on the City Web site at: www.cityofnapa.org