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Zone 0 for Home Hardening

Marin’s Fire Agencies recommend taking a “house out” approach to wildfire preparedness. The surfaces of the home including decks, and steps, is the most vulnerable to embers that accumulate at the base of a wall and/or ignitions when embers ignite vegetation or other combustible materials located close to the structure.  We call this “ZONE ZERO,” because it’s ground-zero when it comes to protecting your home from embers.

Embers are responsible for 90% of homes destroyed by wildfire. The structure of the home itself must be protected from embers. This typically involves:

Harden the Structure

  • Installing vents that are both ember and flame resistant
  • Installation of a Class A rated roof
  • Protecting gutters from debris accumulation with proper screens and roof flashing
  • Ensure 6 inch vertical non combustible materials at base of walls and decks
  • Sealing all openings into the home
  • Use correct weather stripping on doors including the garage door
  • Install double pane, tempered glass windows

In addition to the structure itself, attached decks and steps plus gates and fences must be ember resistant

harden the structure
home patio

Harden Attached Decks and Gates

  • Decks should be constructed of materials approved by the California State Fire Marshal
  • No combustible material is allowed under decks
  • Decks should be enclosed with screens or non combustible materials to keep embers out
  • No combustible gate or fence should be attached to the home

The Five Foot Buffer

Remove ALL vegetation, trees including overhanging branches, grass/turf, wood/rubber mulch, and any combustible stored items within 5 feet of the structure.

man removing foliage
man cleaning leaves out of gutters


  • Routinely clear vegetation debris in the Five Foot Buffer
  • Roofs: Routinely clear tree debris from roof and gutters
  • Decks: Routinely clear tree debris, replace combustible furniture, & maintain the under deck area
  • Yard: Regularly clear debris, pruned and spaced trees/vegetation, move firewood & large propane tanks to 30+ feet
  • Place structures at least 10 feet away and maintain the 5-foot noncombustible buffer around them

Wildfire Prepared Home

Consider becoming a designated Wildfire Prepared Home by the Insurance Institute of Business and Home Safety. The State of California has passed legislation related to the Five Foot Buffer Zone. Here is a Power Point from their Workshop.

Wildfire Prepared Home


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