What is Defensible Space?

The term defensible space refers to the area between a house an oncoming wildfire where the vegetation has been managed to reduce the wildfire threat and allow firefighters to safely defend the house. In the event that firefighters are not available, defensible space also improves the likelihood of a home surviving without assistance.

Lean, Clean and Green Area:

For a distance of at least 30 feet from the home, there should be a Lean, Clean and Green Area. Lean indicates that only a small amount of flammable vegetation, if any, is present within 30 feet of the house. Clean means there is no accumulation of dead vegetation or flammable debris within the area. Green denotes that plants located within this area are kept healthy, green and irrigated during fire season. For most homeowners, the Lean, Clean and Green Area is the residential landscape. This area often has irrigation, contains ornamental plants and is routinely maintained.

Wildland Fuel Reduction Area: This area usually lies beyond the residential landscape area and is where sagebrush, cheatgrass, pinyon and other wild plants grow. Within this area:

  • Remove all dead vegetation (dead shrubs, dried grass and fallen branches).
  • Thin out thick shrubs and trees to create a separation between them.
  • Prevent ladder fuels by removing low tree branches, and removing or pruning any shrubs under the tree.

Noncombustible Area: Create a Noncombustible Area at least 5 feet wide around the base of your home. This area needs to have a very low potential for ignition from flying embers. use irrigated herbaceous plants (lawn, ground cover and flowers), rock mulches, or hard surfaces (concrete, brick and pavers) in this area. Keep it free of woodpiles, wood mulches, dead plants, dried leaves and needles, flammable shrubs (sagebrush and juniper) and debris.

The West Region Wildfire Council offers a grant program to assist homeowners in completing mitigation projects. For more information about available grant opportunities, please visit our grants tab.


Defensible Space Is Effective!

House in the middle of a circle of trees

Fuels Reduction: Before and After Photos



Other Risk Reduction Measures to Consider