Defensible Space Evaluations
The City of Santa Barbara Fire Department offers voluntary inspections of your property to ensure that your home is protected. During a major wildland fire the majority of homes lost are not engulfed by the fire front. They are lost when fire embers find a weakness in your home and start a small fire that can lead to total loss.
Santa Barbara is known for its extreme fire weather and has a long history of extreme loss during the Sycamore, Painted Cave and Tea and, most recently, the Jesusita fires. In a wind-driven fire, there is no guarantee that your home will survive, but we can strive to make each and every home as safe as possible.
Each and every one of the homeowners that has asked for an inspection has walked away after the inspection with a safer home and more knowledge than before. We again are offering this valuable service to the members of the Wildland Fire Suppression Assessment District.
Watch a video about the Defensible Evaluation Service (if it does not appear above)
You can schedule a defensible space inspection by contacting the City of Santa Barbara Fire Department at 965-5254 or by filling out our online request form.
AB-38 Home Hardening and Defensible Space Advisory & Disclosure
As of July 1st, 2021 all homes sold in California in a High or Very High Fire Hazard Area are required to include the Home Hardening and Defensible Space Advisory, Disclosure and Addendum prior to the close of sale. The law allows, that if documentation demonstrating compliance cannot be obtained by the close of escrow, the seller and buyer can enter into a written agreement showing that the buyer agrees to obtain documentation of compliance within one year of the close of escrow. If you are selling a home within any of the City's designated High Fire Hazard Areas, the realtor representing the seller should obtain a copy of this form and request a Defensible Space Evaluation in order to identify potential hazards and compliance under California Civil Code Section 1102.19.
To identify if a parcel is within a High Fire Hazard Area within the City, click here to use our MAPS tool. Once you are in the MAPS viewer, toggle the Fire>High Fire Hazard Area layer using the menu on the left. Once the layer is toggled on, you can search by address, APN or manually locate your parcel on the map.
Effect of the Drought
It is generally accepted that there is a connection between drought and wildfire, a risk that increases with multiple dry years. The California Department of Water Resources observed that California’s most devastating wildland fire episodes occurred either during a drought or in the year following a multi-year drought. Low fuel moisture creates conditions that are favorable to fire spread, and resulting outbreaks can be among the major economic impacts of drought conditions. Approximately 75% of wildland fire causes are associated with the activities of people, from deliberate sets to household ignition sources and to driving cars. That makes the urban wildland interface particularly prone to fire initiation and spread.
Defensible Space Requirements
The City's "Defensible Space Clearance Requirements" mandate the clearance of flammable vegetation from and structure and public or private street that is on or borders your property. The requirements for defensible space vary based on your wildland fire zone.
There are four high fire hazard zones within the City;
Extreme Foothill Zone - 150ft of Defensible Space is required
Foothill Zone - 100ft of Defensible Space is required
Costal Interior Zone - 50-70ft of Defensible Space is required
Costal Zone - 30-50ft of Defensible Space is required