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Defensible Space Assistance Program

As part of the RCDTC's work to strengthen community wildfire preparedness, the TinderSmart Tehama Defensible Space Assistance Program offers no-cost defensible space assistance to residents within Tehama County's State Responsibility Area (SRA), Local Responsibility Area (LRA), and Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) zones.

The services provided through this program are performed by our qualified conservation technicians. To help landowners establish the 100 feet of defensible space required by law, conservation technicians may operate a chipper, masticator, and/or hand tools to address hazardous vegetation. Treatments may include thinning brush, limbing branches, felling small diameter trees, and/or weed-eating. All post-treatment materials will remain on the property in the form of wood chips or firewood.

NOTICE (September 2023): The Defensible Space Assistance Program is currently accepting applications; however, due to the popularity of the program, wait times may vary. Current wait time (from application submission to scheduling a site visit) is about 14 months.

To apply for no-cost defensible space assistance, please submit an application.

If you have any questions about the program, please check out the frequently asked questions below or contact Stephanie Dickerson at or (530) 727-1299.

How Can I Get Involved in the Defensible Space Assistance Program? 

(1)  To receive defensible space assistance through the TinderSmart Tehama Defensible Space Assistance Program, please submit an application.

(2)  The RCDTC's TinderSmart Tehama Community Coordinator will contact you to schedule an in-person site visit and coordinate completion of a Temporary Entry Permit.

  • Please note that from application to completion of services, the longest waiting period is between application submission and being contacted to schedule a site visit. Due to the popularity of the program, wait times may vary. Please check the notice above for recent wait times.

(3)  A TinderSmart Tehama team member will conduct a site visit and explain the treatment plan to perform defensible space work. Treatment plans are based on CAL FIRE defensible space requirements.

(4)  Following a site visit, you will receive a comprehensive site visit report detailing the treatment plan, at which point, you can either accept or reject the treatment.

(5)  If you accept the treatment, you will be contacted to schedule defensible space work on your property.

  • Wait times vary, but work is generally scheduled within a few months of a site visit being completed.

(6)  The RCDTC's conservation technicians will conduct defensible space assistance work on your property as outlined in the treatment plan.

Defensible Space Zones 
Defensible Space diagram showing Zone 0 (0-5 feet from the home), Zone 1 (5-30 feet from the home), and Zone 2 (30-100 feet from the home).
Image shows text that reads as follows: Zone 0 extends from zero to five feet from buildings, structures, decks, etc. (For Zone Zero) 1. Use hardscape like gravel, pavers, concrete, and other noncombustible mulch materials. No combustible bark or mulch. 2. Remove all dead and dying weeds, grass, branches, and vegetative debris. Check your roofs, gutters, decks, porches, stairways, etc. 3. Remove all branches within 10 feet of any chimney or stovepipe outlet. 4. Limit combustible items (outdoor furniture, planters, etc.) on top of decks. 5. Relocate firewood and lumber to Zone 2. 6. Replace combustible fencing, gates, and arbors attached to the home with noncombustible alternatives. 7. Consider relocating garbage and recycling containers outside this zone. 8. Consider relocating boats, RVs, vehicles, and other combustible items outside this zone. Zone 1 extends five to 30 feet from buildings, decks, and other structures. (For Zone 1) 9. Remove all dead plants, grass, and weeds (vegetation). 10. Remove dead or dry leaves and pine needles from your yard, roof, and rain gutters. 11. Remove branches that hang over your roof and keep dead branches 10 feet away from your chimney or stovepipe outlet. 12. Trim trees regularly to keep branches a minimum of 10 feet from other trees. 13. Relocate exposed wood piles outside of Zone 1. 14. Remove or prune flammable plants and shrubs near windows. 15. Remove vegetation and items that could catch fire from around and under decks. 16. Create a separation between trees, shrubs, and items that could catch fire, such as patio furniture, wood piles, swing sets, etc. Zone 2 extends from 30 feet to 100 feet from buildings structures, decks, etc. (For Zone 2) 17. Cut or mow annual grasses to a maximum height of four inches. 18. All exposed wood piles must have a minimum of 10 feet clearance around them, down to bare mineral soil, in all directions. 19. Create horizontal space between shrubs and trees. 20. Create vertical space between grass, shrubs, and trees. 21. Remove fallen leaves, needles, twigs, bark, cones, and small branches. However, they may be permitted to a depth of three inches. All zones (For all zones) 22. Mow before 10 a.m., but never when it's windy or excessively dry. 23. Protect water quality. Do not clear vegetation near waterways to bare soil. Vegetation removal can cause soil erosion - especially on steep slopes. 24. Logs or stumps embedded in the soil must be removed in Zone 0. In Zones 1 and 2 they need to be removed or isolated from other vegetation.

One hundred feet of defensible space is required by law under Public Resources Code 4291. This 100 foot perimeter is broken down into three different defensible space zones. For more information and the requirements for each zone, please visit

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is defensible space?

 Defensible space is a 100-foot buffer surrounding a structure that is free from hazardous vegetation and other ignitable materials that could fuel fire. This buffer helps to keep wildfire away from your home by reducing the fire's intensity and slowing or halting the spread of wildfire. Properties in, upon, or adjoining a mountainous area, forest-covered lands, shrub-covered lands, grass-covered lands, or land that is covered with flammable material are required to create and maintain defensible space according to Public Resources Code 4291.

What is the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI)?

One definition of the WUI by the Community Wildfire Planning Center is: "Any developed area where conditions affecting the combustibility of vegetation, and structures or infrastructure (built fuels), allow for the ignition and spread of fire through the combined fuels."

Do I have to pay for this service?

There is no additional cost to landowners for this service. Funding for this project provided by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection's Fire Prevention Program.

What materials will be addressed?

Materials addressed in this program include shrubs, grass, tree limbs, and small trees under 10 inches DBH (diameter at breast height).

What should we expect while defensible space work is being done?

Upon arrival, the Lead Conservation Technician will walk through the property with you to discuss the work being done. While work is underway, we ask that you stay inside for your own safety and the safety of others.

Who will be doing the work?

Defensible space assistance work is conducted by the RCDTC's qualified, in-house conservation technicians.

What will happen to materials after they are cut?

Limbs are chipped and broadcast around the property and larger trees are cut into firewood. All post-treatment materials will remain on the property.

Will stumps remain?

Yes. Stump removal is not part of this program.

Can I request changes to the treatment plan?

No. The treatment plans provided following site visits are designed in compliance with CAL FIRE regulations and utilize an "all or nothing" approach. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. The RCDTC is diligently working with CAL FIRE to let them know some of these challenges we are facing together.

I submitted an application. What's next?

See How Can I Get Involved in the Defensible Space Assistance Program?.

I have been site visited. What's next?

See How Can I Get Involved in the Defensible Space Assistance Program?

I have already received services through the Defensible Space Assistance Program. When am I next eligible?

Residents/homewoners are eligible for services once every three years.

What Fire Hazard Severity Zone (FHSZ) do I live in?

Learn more here:


Funding for this project provided by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection's Fire Prevention Program.