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Hazardous Vegetation Inspection & Abatement

Permit Sonoma Fire Prevention

Property owners are required to keep properties in compliance with Sonoma County’s Fire Safety Ordinance including Chapter 13A.

Inspectors from Sonoma County and local Fire Districts inspect properties for compliance. Selected properties that are not within city limits (improved and unimproved) may be part of the inspection program. Critical to protecting homes from wildfire, defensible space includes a "lean, clean and green" zone 30 feet (or to the property line) from buildings, and a "reduced fuels zone," which can have more natural vegetation, from 30-feet to 100-feet (or to the property line) from structures:


CAL Fire Defensible Space Zones

Image Source: CAL Fire

2023 Vegetation Management "Defensible Space" Inspections

The 2023 Vegetation Management "Defensible Space" Inspections have begun:

What to Expect When We're Inspecting

Vegetation management (defensible space) inspections will be carried out through a partnership between the Permit Sonoma Fire Prevention Division in collaboration with local fire protection districts.

Currently, inspections are carried out in selected areas. Notification of upcoming inspections and explanation of defensible space requirements will be mailed to the owner of the record before inspections begin. We may also inspect a property to follow up on resident complaints. Owners and/or residents will be notified in writing of any violations and the corrective actions necessary to bring the property into compliance.

If following reinspection your parcel is determined to be out of compliance, violations can be abated by the County. Costs, fees, and penalties, if unpaid, may be placed as a lien on the property. However, we hope that residents will view the inspection as an opportunity to learn about wildfire risks and how you might reduce risks while coming into compliance with defensible space regulations.

If you have any questions about the inspection program, please contact us.

Property Look Up

Inspections Program Active Map Viewer

Search by parcel number or by address through the interactive Inspections Program Map Viewer.

Fire District Partners

Permit Sonoma works with the following fire districts across Sonoma County to conduct defensible space inspections and vegetation management projects:

  • Cloverdale FPD
  • Gold Ridge FPD 
  • Northern Sonoma County 
  • Rancho Adobe FPD 
  • Sonoma County FD 
  • Kenwood FD 
  • Sonoma Valley FD

Working together with local fire districts strengthens both the County and the local district's efforts to reduce the risks to our communities. For a full breakdown of funding, inspections, and projects please see our Fiscal Year 2022-23 Participating Fire Districts map.

Vegetation Management Requirements & Recommendations

Defensible Space requirements in Sonoma County are different based on if your parcel is in a Local Responsibility Area (LRA), a State Responsibility Area (SRA), or within a municipality. If you don't know if your property is in an LRA or SRA, you can use the Zoning Lookup Tool to search for parcel information. After you have entered your APN or address in the search bar, look for "Fire Protection Response Area" to see if you are in LRA or SRA.

If you live within a municipality, check with your local agency for local requirements.

Wildfire Compatible Homes and Communities

Sonoma County’s highly flammable vegetation and warm, dry summer and fall temperatures place local communities at significant risk to wildfire. Good defensible space is critical to minimize the risk of catastrophic wildfire losses.

Defensible Space does not mean clearcutting all vegetation or removing large trees! Defensible space is the buffer that landowners are required to create on their property between structures and the plants, brush or other items surrounding the structure that could ignite in the event of a fire. Critical to protect homes from wildfire, defensible space includes a "lean, clean and green" zone 30 feet (or to the property line) from buildings, and a "reduced fuels zone," which can have more natural vegetation, from 30' to 100' (or to the property line) from structures. The primary concerns are dead and dying vegetation and plant debris, low-growing brushy plants, and low tree limbs that fire can use to cross the ground towards buildings or use as a ladder to get into tree tops.  Having good defensible space will help decrease the intensity of oncoming wildfire and provide an area from which firefighters can safely defend structures.

Compliance to defensible space standards is required by state and local regulations in all of unincorporated Sonoma County. Defensible space standards must be maintained year round.  Defensible space around an individual home is great, but when all properties in a neighborhood are compliant, the entire community is made safer.

We encourage you to contact our office with any questions you may have about the program or defensible space requirements. Our goal is to work with residents to achieve communities that are better adapted to a wildfire-prone environment.