Chief’s Corner: Is your home wildfire ember resistant?

Kevin McKechnie
Truckee Fire Chief Kevin McKechnie

Some homes have survived recent wildfires while others have not, and we are learning why. 

Assembly Bill 3074, passed into law in 2020, requires new regulation in the area closest to the home to prevent a wildfire from getting to your home. This law requires the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection to develop a regulation for a new Ember-Resistant Zone (Zone 0) in the area within 0 to 5 feet of the home, by Jan. 1, 2023. 

Science has proven the Ember-Resistant Zone to be the most important of all the defensible space zones. This zone includes the area under and around all attached decks and within the 5 feet from your home and requires the most stringent wildfire fuel reduction. 

The Ember-Resistant zone is designed to keep fire or embers from igniting materials that can spread the fire to your home. The following provides guidance and best practices for this zone, which may change based on the regulation developed by the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection.

In the 0-5 feet from your home:

— Use hardscape like gravel, pavers, concrete and other noncombustible materials. No combustible bark, pine needles, chips or mulch.

— Remove all dead and dying weeds, grass, plants, shrubs, trees, branches and vegetative debris (leaves, needles, cones, bark, etc.).

— Remove all branches within 10 feet of any chimney or stovepipe outlet

— Limit combustible items (outdoor furniture, planters, etc.) on top of decks.

— Relocate firewood and lumber 30 feet from home.

— Replace combustible fencing, gates, and arbors attach to the home with noncombustible alternatives.

— Relocating garbage and recycling containers outside this zone.

— Relocating boats, RVs, vehicles and other combustible items outside this zone, if possible.

As always, please consult your local regulatory authorities to ensure compliance with applicable rules and regulations before performing any work.

Go to for more information on preparing for wildfire.

Kevin McKechnie is the Fire Chief for the Truckee Fire Protection District. He can be reached at

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