Fire safety laws you need to abide by
Understanding defensible space and home hardening regulations.
Living responsibly in SRA zones
If your residence is within a State Responsibility Area (SRA), you’re obliged to align with California’s fire and building codes. These codes are designed to mitigate wildfire risks and ensure the safety of both your property and firefighters.
- Creating a defensible buffer: California mandates a 100-foot defensible space around homes in SRA zones, clearing flammable materials to slow down wildfires and provide a safe perimeter for firefighting efforts.
- Constructing with fire-resistant materials: New constructions must utilize fire-resistant materials, such as specific roofing, windows, and eaves, enhancing your home’s resilience against wildfires.
- Check local laws: Check with your local fire station about laws in your area, as local jurisdictions may have more stringent requirements. For example, in San Diego County, the 1st and 2nd zones in Defensible Space are 50 feet each, while elsewhere they’re 30 feet and 70 feet respectively.
- 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)
By following fire safety laws, you’ll do your part to prevent buildings from igniting due to flying embers, which can travel as much as a mile away from a wildfire.
Additional resources to guide you:
- CAL FIRE Defensible Space Inspection Materials
- California Public Resources Code Section 4291
- California Code of Regulations on Fire Prevention
- Defensible Space Guidelines by California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection
- 2019 California Building Code, Chapter 7A: SFM Materials and Construction Methods for Exterior Wildfire Exposure
- 2019 California Fire Code, Chapter 49: Requirements for Wildland-Urban Interface Fire Areas