Defensible Space

Appointments are available after april 15th, weather permitting.


HAZARD tree marking is available during the winter months through the Forester, Bruce Barr at TRPA 775-589-5294.

Defensible Space Evaluations / Consultations (Tree Removal Permitting)

TDFPD has defensible space inspectors who can evaluate your property and provide evaluation documentation consistent with Nevada State Law that is acceptable by most homeowners’ insurance companies.  Our inspectors are certified to issue TRPA Tree Removal Permits when tree removal is necessary for fire safety.  Defensible space consultations can be scheduled online or by calling our office at 775.588.3591 by asking for a defensible space consultation.

Defensible Space: Does it work?

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. The second is by having continuous fuels leading to the home with no fuel break. Having good defensible space means “cutting the wick” of flammable vegetation near your home.

Learn here how Jack Cohen (Fire Sciences Researcher) explains the interaction of wildfire and structures helped homes from tragedy.

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 provides an opportunity to stop home ignitions, even during extreme fire conditions.

Defensible space has proven to be effective in recent wildfires near the Lake Tahoe Basin.

improve your defensible space

1. The Non-Combustible Zone

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

2. The Lean, Clean and Green Zone

Embers frequently ignite surface fuels such as pine needle that then enable flames to travel to the deck or home and directly ignite the structure.  Note in the picture below 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. 

Ember Defensible Space

3. 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. A ladder fuels is a firefighting term for live or dead vegetation that allows a fire to climb up from the landscape or forest floor into the 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 fuels to prevent a fire from ever making it into the canopy.

Learn more about defensible space visit Tahoe Living with Fire.

TAHOE DOUGLAS FIRETahoe Douglas Fire Protection District maltese crossPROTECTION DISTRICT
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