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Hazardous Vegetation Inspection & Abatement
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 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 feet to 100 feet (or to the property line) from structures.
Inspection Abatement Hazardous Vegetation Materials (PDF: 384 kB)
Inspeccion Reduccion Vegetacion Materiales (PDF: 184 kB)
2021 Vegetation Management "Defensible Space" Inspections
The 2021 Vegetation Management "Defensible Space" Inspections will start in May of 2021.
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 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 Map Viewer
Vegetation Management Requirements & Recommendations
Defensible Space requirements in Sonoma County are different based on if your parcel is in a Local Responsibility Areas (LRA), a State Responsibility Area (SRA), or within a municipality. If you don't know if your property is in SRA or LRA, you can use this link to search for parcel information using our zoning lookup tool. 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.
- Requirements for Improved Parcels in the Local Responsibility Areas (LRAs)
- Requirements for Unimproved Parcels in Local Responsibility Area (LRA) and State Responsibility Area (SRA)
- Requirements for Improved Parcels in State Responsibility Area (SRA)
If you live within a municipality, check with your local agency for local requirements.
Past Community Meetings
The Fire Prevention Division is offering informational sessions online for property owners whose properties will be or have been inspected. Please join us to ask questions and learn more about preparing for wildland fire through defensible space.
Topics for each meeting:
- I got a violation! How do I comply? What's next?
- What is a Red Flag Day? What to do and not to do.
The schedule is below:
More Fire Prevention Videos -->
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.