The state of California has seen an increase in frequency and size of wildfires. Culver City has an ordinance in place that increases requirements for brush clearance and fire safety in the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones (VHFHSZ). This ordinance establishes appropriate safety measures necessary to mitigate the occurrence of such fires.
Brush Clearance Safety Tips
Throughout the state, smaller brush fires have been accidentally started by well intentioned residents performing brush clearance. Follow the safety tips below to help eliminate accidental starts.
- Use of metal cutting blades for grass or brush clearance shall be limited to those which are non-ferrous/non-sparking.
- Brush clearance cannot be done on red flag days, when fire weather conditions are at their peak.
- Individuals engaged in brush clearance operations shall not engage in any other activities during the actual clearance of grass or brush.
- An approved fire extinguisher, or a pressurized garden hose with attached nozzle shall be within 10 feet of any grass or brush clearance operation, to quickly extinguish a small fire before it burns out of control.
- A cell phone capable of dialing 9-1-1 shall be charged and readily accessible to the grass or brush clearance operation.
Brush Clearance Requirements
1. The first 30 feet around or adjacent to ANY structure shall be maintained completely free from Native Brush or hazardous vegetation with the exception of Specimen Native Shrubs.
2. All Native Brush or hazardous vegetation from 30 feet to 100 feet of ANY structure shall be maintained at a height of not more than 18 inches nor less than 3 inches in order to maintain an adequate fire break. You are responsible for clearance on your property only.
3. You may retain Specimen Native Shrubs throughout the one hundred feet provided:
a. They are spaced at a distance equal to 3 times their diameter, but in no event closer than 18 feet from other native shrubs, brush or structures.
b. Specimen native shrubs shall be maintained free of dead wood and litter, and trimmed up at least 2 feet from the ground or 1/3 of their height, whichever is less.
c. A list of specimen native shrubs which may be retained is listed in a brochure which may be obtained from your community fire station.
4. All native brush within 10 feet of any usable road surface shall be maintained at a height of not more than 18 inches but not less than 3 inches above ground level.
5. Trees, shrubs, bushes, or other vegetation adjacent to or overhanging any structure shall be maintained free of dead limbs and other combustible matter.
6. Trees shall be maintained so that no portion is closer than 10 feet from any chimney.
7. All roof surfaces shall be maintained free of substantial accumulations of leaves, needles, twigs, and any other combustible matter.
8. All weeds and dry grass within 10 feet from any roadway or combustible fence shall not exceed a maximum of 3 inches in height.
9. All cut vegetation and debris shall be removed and legally disposed. All vegetation, native or otherwise, shall be maintained so as not to constitute a fire hazard or public nuisance.
Undesirable Plant Species
The plants listed below are more susceptible to burning due to rough or peeling bark, production of large amounts of litter, vegetation that contains oils, resin, wax, pitch or a high dead to live fuel ratio. Many of these species, if existing on the property and adequately maintained, may remain as long as the potential for spreading a fire has been reduced or eliminated. These types of plants should be avoided, especially in sensitive areas, where they could become established and compete with native vegetation. Examples of undesirable plant species include:
|Arborvitae||Buckwheat||Eucalyptus||Milk Thistle||Red Shanks|
|Artichoke Thistle||Burning Nettle||Fountain Grass||Peppergrass||Russian Thistle|
|Bamboo||Caster Bean Plant||Horseweed||Palm Tree||Telegraph Plant|
|Black Mustard||Chamise||Indian Tobacco||Pine Tree||Pampa Grass|
|Black Sage||Cypress||Mayweed||Juniper||Yellow Mustard|
Desirable Plant Species
There are no “fire proof” plants. To help create a fire-resistant landscape, select high moisture plants that grow close to the ground and have a low sap or resin content. Fire resistant plants are great in California because they are often drought tolerant too. Plant hardwood trees that are less flammable than pine, fir or other conifer trees. Examples of desirable plant species include:
|Aloe||Rockrose||Ice Plant||Hedging Roses|
|Bush Honeysuckle||Sumac||Shrub Apples||French Lavender|
|Red Monkey Flower||Lilac||Sage||California Lilac|
|Society Garlic||Maple Tree||Poplar Tree||Cherry Tree|
Ready, Set, Go!
Are you wildfire ready? In the event of a wildfire, Ready, Set, Go helps give you the tools to protect your family, property and community from wildfires.
Take personal responsibility and prepare long before the threat of a wildfire.
Pack your vehicle with essential emergency items. Food, water, medication for you, family/pet(s) and important documents. Stay aware of the latest news from local media, fire and police for updated information.
Evacuate when told, do not wait! Go to the designated evacuation location as instructed by the authorities.
For more information about the Ready, Set, Go program and other fire safety information, visit the Cal Fire website.