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Chimneys, Garages, Driveways, & Address Numbers


Chimneys require a spark arrestor screen with openings no smaller than 3/8 – inch and no larger than 1/2 – inch to prevent sparks and embers from escaping and igniting a fire. Be sure to remove all branches within 10 feet of any chimney or stovepipe outlet.



Install weather stripping around and under your garage door to prevent embers from blowing in, and store all combustible and flammable liquids away from ignition sources. If you need to evacuate, particularly if the power is out, be sure to close your garage door when you leave to keep embers out.

Defensible Space Zone 3. Driveways & Access Roads

  • Zone 3, the “access” zone, extends from 3′ to at least 10′ horizontally from the edge of roads and driveways, and 14′ overhead. Property owners are responsible for vegetation adjacent to roads and driveways.  Access roads are critical for evacuation and first responder access.
  • Clear vegetation 14’ overhead and 10’ from sides of roads and driveways in the same manner as Defensible Space Zone 1.
  • Maintain 12’ of unobstructed pavement for passage of vehicles.
  • Within this zone, plantings shall be fire resistant and must not extend into the roadway.
  • 14’ of clearance is required above the roadway for emergency vehicle access.
  • All gates should open inward and be wide enough (12 -16 feet), to accommodate emergency vehicles and equipment. Check your local code requirement before installation.
  • Address numbers must be clearly visible from the road, with at least 4” numbers on a contrasting background.  Reflective or lighted numbers are best.
  • Create vertical spacing between shrubs, and lower tree limbs.
  • Cut all grasses.

Address Numbers

  • Remember that firefighters may need to locate your home quickly at night, during a storm, or in smoky conditions. Help them find your home by making your address clearly visible from the road.
  • California requires by law that address numbers be a minimum of four inches and be placed on contrasting backgrounds.
  • Brass or bronze numbers will oxidize and become difficult to read against a weathered wood background. Instead, use white, stainless steel, or reflective numbers.
  • Illuminate your numbers, if possible, and place them where they can be seen from the road by emergency vehicles traveling in both directions.
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