Hazardous Vegetation Abatement
State law requires owners of improved parcels (ones that have a structure on them) maintain 100 feet of defensible space around any structure. Unfortunately, defensible space ended at the property line; the law doesn’t apply to unimproved parcels, ones without a structure. A structure with limited setback could face danger from a neighbor’s brush-choked, unimproved parcel. In response, Placer County developed a hazardous vegetation abatement ordinance. This local ordinance extends the state law’s 100-foot requirement beyond the property line and onto adjacent, unimproved parcels.
The ordinance applies when an “extra hazardous” fire condition exists. When the owner of improved property is at risk from fire fuels on an adjacent, unimproved property, and it is not possible for an improved parcel owner to obtain the required 100 feet of defensible space, the county’s ordinance kicks in. The Hazardous Vegetation Abatement (HVA) ordinance does not apply when an improved parcel is adjacent to another improved parcel. In this situation, parcel owners are encouraged to work with their neighbors to obtain necessary defensible space.
This is the single most effective strategy for protecting structures and assisting firefighting efforts. State law requires 100 feet of defensible space. Local fire agencies perform defensible space inspections to ensure residences meet the state required standards.
This program provides free chipping to Placer County residents to assist in reducing large flammable piles into small biodegradable piles. Property owners living in the wildland urban interface can have material created from thinning activities on their properties chipped on-site. To access the chipper program, use the following contacts:
- Auburn City Fire Department
Phone: 530-823-4211, ext. 173
- Foresthill Fire Department
- Meadow Vista/Applegate: Placer Hills Fire District
- Placer County Fire/California Fire Hazard Mitigation Program
Phone: 530-745-3574 or 3575
- South Placer: South Placer Fire Protection District
Sign up for chipping on the North Tahoe Fire Protection District website. Under Prevention, go to defensible space/chipping, or call 530-584-2322.
The District provides a free chipping service to residential customers. Once you have scheduled your chipping, work is performed according to area specific zones. A schedule is available on our website, and also posted online when a chipping request is submitted. Chips are broadcast back onto the homeowner's property.
Fire Safe Councils
The Placer Fire Safe Councils' purpose is to work together to reduce the loss of life and property from wildfires. The Councils do this by developing Community Fire Safe Plans, reducing fuel levels, effectively communicating with area residents and motivating them to take action to protect their homes and property prior to a wildfire. To contact a Fire Safe Council, please email the Office of Emergency Services or call 530-886-5300.
Additional information about the councils is available on the Fire Safe Alliance website. There are five Fire Safe Councils in Western Placer County:
- The Foresthill/Iowa Hill Fire Safe Council meets the third Tuesday of each month.
- The Greater Auburn Fire Safe Council meets the third Friday of each month.
- The Greater Lincoln Fire Safe Council meets the third Thursday of each month.
- The Placer County Fire Safe Alliance meets the third Thursday of each month.
- The Placer Sierra Fire Safe Council meets the fourth Thursday of each month.