If you live in State Responsibility Area (SRA), you are responsible for ensuring that your property is in compliance with California’s building and fire codes that call for homeowners to take proactive steps to protect their property from a wildfire.
California law requires that homeowners in SRA clear out flammable materials such as brush or vegetation around their buildings to 100 feet (or the property line) to create a defensible space buffer. This helps halt the progress of an approaching wildfire and keeps firefighters safe while they defend your home.
The law also requires new homes to be constructed with fire-resistant materials. By building your home with materials like fire-resistant roofing, enclosed eaves and dual-paned windows, you are hardening your home and giving it a fighting chance to survive a wildfire.
By following the law, you will help prevent buildings from being ignited by flying embers, which can travel as much as a mile away from a wildfire.
Make sure to check with your local fire station about laws in your area, as many local jurisdictions may have more stringent requirements. For example in San Diego County, the first and second zones in Defensible Space are 50 feet and 50 feet, while else where it’s only 30 feet and 70 feet.
Regarding evacuation, California law authorizes officers to restrict access to any area where a menace to public health or safety exists due to a calamity such as flood, storm, fire, earthquake, explosion, accident or other disaster. Refusal to comply is a misdemeanor. (Penal Code 409.5)
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