Understanding Defensible Space: Zone 1

Take these essential steps to make Zone 1 as fire-unfriendly as possible

Quick recap:
When it comes to creating defensible space on your property, there are three Zones to clear: Zone 0 (closest to your home), Zone 1 (middle section), and Zone 2 (furthest on your property).

Below, learn more about Zone 1.

Where is Zone 1 of defensible space located?

Also known as the “Lean, Clean, and Green” Zone, Zone 1 extends from the edge of Zone Zero (five feet from your home, deck, or other attached structure) out 30 feet. The essential goal of Zone 1 is to prevent fire from having room to move freely. Remove opportunities for it to burn from one plant or tree to another by making as much space as possible for fire to burn itself out.

How to Clear Zone 1

Tree Trimming

  • Remove branches extending from Zone 1 over your roof
  • Trim back or remove branches within 10 feet of chimneys
  • Keep tree branches no closer than 6 feet from the ground or one-third of the overall tree height

Grass and Weeds

  • Keep grass to 4 inches or less
  • Consistently remove weeds, dead plants, dried grass, pine needles, and clippings

Tree/Shrub Planting

  • Create space between trees/shrubs and flammable items (patio furniture, swing sets, etc.)
  • Limit trees and shrubs to small groupings, and place them a safe distance apart; avoid creating lines of combustible vegetation, which can burn like a fuse
  • Put space between the tops and bottoms of shrubs, keeping them away from your lowest tree branches and the surface of your grass

Additional Tips for Zone 1

  • Remove logs or stumps embedded in the soil, or thoroughly clear and maintain the space around them
  • If possible, do not store wood piles in Zone 1; if you must, get them as far from your house as possible and cover them in a fire-resistant material

Late winter and spring are the best times to clear Zone 1, while the ground may still be damp and before the temperatures get too hot for extended outdoor cleanup. For more information about clearing Zone 1, watch Max DSI’s newest video or visit our page about defensible space.