Wooden fences or landscaped walls attached to the house can lead a wildfire right to your home, especially if plant debris, dead vegetation, or other easily ignitable yard waste and leaf litter has gathered at the bottom. Residents that live within or immediately around our Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) Fire Area are encouraged to take the steps necessary to protect their homes.
A non-combustible fence within the zero to five-foot noncombustible zone around your home will help minimize the potential for fire and wind-blown embers from spreading to the structure. Below is a list of tips, including which materials, installation, and maintenance choices we recommend:
- The area at the base of the fence should be kept clear of debris around the entire permitter. During the 2020 Glass Fire, numerous fences located away from homes were ignited due to leaves and other yard waste piled up against them. Most fences that were well maintained and kept clear were undamaged.
- Use a noncombustible fence section where it’s attached to a building.
- Avoid the placement of combustible mulch near the base of the fence.
- Create a 1-inch gap at the bottom of the fence to keep fence boards from touching the soil, since direct contact can cause rot and decay, making the wood more susceptible to fire.
- Never store combustible materials, such as firewood, against a combustible fence.
- Avoid wood slat fences with gaps. Burning embers that get trapped in gaps can cause the fence to catch fire, increasing your home’s chances of igniting.
Review the full list of fire-safe fencing tips under our Property Owner Resource Library at srcity.org/WildfireReady.