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FireSafe Gardens - Creating your Defensible Space

property diagram showing three zones of defensible spaceThe GWN talk of August 22, 2019 was a call to action! Eugenia Rendler and Patty Ciesla of the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council gave us useful and sobering information about our responsibilities as homeowners. "Defensible Space" was described: "Home Ignition Zone--0-5' from house: use walkways, inorganic mulches, and a metal gate if fence is attached to the house; "Garden area"--5-30' "keep lean, green and clean", using fewer plants and have them well-spaced; and "Reduced Fuel Zone" 30-100'. With all spaces avoid accumulation of leaves, pine needles, dead branches.

Details can be found on the SCFSC website:, especially on the second half of the website's Environment page and the website's Resources page.

More information on defensible space can be found at FireSafe Marin's Defensible Space page and the University of California Cooperative Extension's Fire in California - Defensible Space page.

A booklet Fire-Safe Demonstration Garden was given out with a map of the demo garden at the CA Dept of Forestry and Fire Protection, 15670 Monterey St, Morgan Hill. (Call to verify hours open.)

Handout from the program:

Leaf burn times of California native plants, (link to original document on the Las Pilitas site)

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