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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 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.


  • 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

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