Until further notice, access to our fire stations, administration office and Station 23 classroom is limited to essential personnel only.
Please call 775-588-3591, in advance to coordinate/plan drop off procedures.
Be safe. 

Defensible Space


Defensible Space Evaluations / Consultations (Tree Removal Permitting)

Tahoe Douglas' staff forester, fire prevention staff, and Zephyr Fire Crew leadership can evaluate your defensible space and provide evaluation documentation consistent with Nevada State Law and acceptable by most homeowners insurance companies.  We can also issue TRPA Tree Removal Permits when tree removal is necessary for fire safety.  Defensible space consultations can be scheduled by clicking above or by calling (775) 588-3591 and asking for a defensible space evaluation.

Defensible Space: Does it work?

Defensible space is proving to be effective in many recent large fires near the Lake Tahoe Basin. This video illustrates how effective defensible space can be.

The purpose of “Defensible Space” is to reduce the likelihood of a home or structure igniting from a wildland fire. Wildfires typically ignite homes in two ways. The first and most important is by burning embers. Click here to see a discussion by Jack Cohen of the interaction of wildfire and structures.

Note that home ignition and the types of wildfire that cause firefighter and civilian deaths are very different. Your home is far more resilient than many people imagine. This fact gives us our opportunity to stop home ignitions, even during extreme fire conditions.

The Non-Combustible Zone

Effective defensible space must address the areas of the home and yard where firebrands can accumulate and ignite a vulnerable area of your home, deck, debris or flammable brush. Preventing firebrands from igniting your home is primarily accomplished in the 5 foot non-combustible zone.

1. The Lean, Clean and Green Zone

Firebrands frequently ignite surface fuels such as pine needle litter that then enables flames to travel to the deck or home and directly ignite the structure.  Note in the picture that the trees around the homes are quite healthy except where they were damaged by burning homes. This type of home ignition can be prevented by maintaining an area 30 feet around the home that does not have any continuous fuels that would enable fire to burn up to the structure, including wood fences. Note that well irrigated and succulent deciduous is allowed without limitation.

2. Wildland Fuel Reduction Area

Crown fire can originate in a very small area on a property and burn the home down by direct flame contact and radiant energy. This can be prevented by removing ladder fuels that can wick fire from surface fuels such as pine needle litter or flammable brush into the upper tree canopy. Large overstory trees are not the fire problem. If big trees are burning then the war was lost on the ground! Clear the ladder fules to prevent fire from ever making it into the canopy.


The Compost Your Combustibles program has closed for the 2019 season. 

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