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Sonoma County Gazette
Defensible Space is space that can be defended. It’s as simple as that.
Defensible Space is space that can be defended. It’s as simple as that.

What is


Jul 18, 2019
by Vesta Copestakes


People see 30’ clearance around their home and they laugh. There is no 30 feet from my home...that’s in the next door neighbor’s living room!

Defensible Space is space that can be defended. 

It’s as simple as that. If you prepare your home and neighborhood so that it doesn’t burst into flames and spread rapidly from home to home, it can be defended. Take a look around...

Tall grass? If you can’t take care of this yourself, hire a landscaper, or go to Labor Ready or one of the established Day Labor centers where you can hire affordable help. Ask a neighbor if you can’t afford to hire someone. This is a neighborhood issue, not just YOUR problem.  

Dry and dead branches on trees or on the ground? You may need a tree service if your trees are overgrown, branches are touching your roof, or too close to the ground. Your neighborhood can get together to save money by having the whole, neighborhood taken care of at the same time.

Roadside Chipper Program. Properties in unincorporated Sonoma County are eligible to receive up to 3 hours of complimentary chipping. On average, this is enough time to chip a pile of vegetation that is approximately 50 feet long, 4 feet tall, and 8 feet wide. The program, which is offered May-November (weather dependent), is available on a first-come, first served basis. Last year, the program served over 450 properties spanning the County from Cloverdale/north to Sonoma/south; Kenwood/east to Jenner/west. Sign on at out more online at or (707) 565-1900 with Permit Sonoma 

Wooden privacy fences between homes? Break the run with a non-flammable barrier like a metal gate. Make it wide enough to stop fire so it doesn’t travel along the fence like flame along a wick, carrying fire from home to home. The longer the non-flammable section - the better your protection.

Replace landscape bark with compost mulch to keep soil moist around your plants while preventing bark from turning into flying embers during a high wind fire. Keep flammable vegetation away from your home 

Clean gutters and roof. Make sure there are no dry leaves on your roof and collected in gutters. Gutter guards help but sometimes collect dry material along the edge between the gutter and the roof. 

Think fire truck space! When your neighborhood gets together to discuss emergency preparedness, find a place where fire trucks can park to defend your homes. An extra wide driveway, a neighbor with a large parking area, etc. The closer to fire hydrants the better.



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