Simple steps to remove debris, trim plants, and prune trees help protect your home from a spreading fire. City resources can help you identify and dispose of tree and plant debris.
As fire season approaches, trim back your home’s grass, remove weeds, prune back trees, and get rid of debris so you can decrease fuels for a fire.
These steps fortify any home anywhere, and they are particularly important in our hills, which face greater risks due to nearby wildlands, high winds, and the hilly topography, as well as vegetation that is drier due to the ongoing drought.
Many city services can help take away your plant debris, including your curbside green bin and pre-paid paper plant debris bags. Other plant debris pickups are available in certain neighborhoods that already pay an additional assessment.
The Fire Department is also inspecting homes throughout the most at-risk fire zones, giving property owners detailed instructions to improve their properties’ safety in a fire.
By taking simple steps, you can not only better protect your own home but also reduce risk for those around you.
Fires love fuel – so reduce grasses, weeds, branches, and debris
Four steps can slow or stop the path of a fire while making it easier for firefighters to defend your home.
- Remove seasonal grasses and weeds, or trim them to 3 inches or shorter.
- Remove tree branches within 6 feet of the ground, and any dead or dying branches.
- Clear plant debris from your roof, porches, gutters, or yard.
- Display your address at least 4 inches tall on a contrasting background and visible from the street so firefighters can find your home at night or when it’s smoky.
Limit a primary path for a fire’s spread: the ground. Shorter plants make shorter flames, which are easier for firefighters to fight. Taller flames more easily ignite your home directly or from trees.
Try to keep fires from rising vertically. Low-hanging tree limbs and dead branches give fire a pathway to jump into the tree canopy, where flames or heat alone can ignite your roof.
Removing plant debris, such as dry leaves and needles, reduces a very flammable pathway to your home.
All properties are unique. Use our self-inspection checklist and get other tips on our Vegetation Management page. They’ll help you create a “defensible space,” a buffer to slow or stop the spread of wildfire.
Hillside wildland fire inspections provide specific tips
The Fire Department conducts wildland fire inspections for all properties in Fire Zones 2 & 3, areas that have particularly high wildfire risk because of their topography, wind exposure, and surrounding vegetation.
These inspections, which were noticed with letters to all affected properties, provide hills property owners with specific tips to improve their properties’ fire safety.
You can look at our inspection form to see the kind of detail we’ll be looking to assess.
City programs remove plant debris at curbside
Use your green bin to get plant debris picked up at curbside. If you have more than what fits, buy pre-paid plant debris bags that you can leave with your regular curbside pickup. These bags can be bought at two locations:
Residents of hills areas that pay a special tax can use the Fire Fuel Chipper Program and Debris Bin Program to help haul away collected plant matter.
Review the 2022 brochure to see if you live in a fire fuel chipper area, learn when crews come to your street, and know how to prepare your plant matter for pickup.
Use these tools and resources to help prepare your home as fire season approaches. Trimming grass, removing weeds, pruning back trees, and getting rid of debris are all steps that will decrease fuel for a fire.