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Photo of the demonstration structure featuring fire-resistant construction materials and techniques.

Sustainable Defensible Space is the area focusing on the first 100 feet around your home. It aims to increase resistance of structures to wildfire, safeguard firefighters’ lives, improve conservation values and protect California’s natural heritage.

Photo of the 5-foot zone of a house with inorganic mulch, succulents, and low growing annuals.

It starts with the home and the use of fire-resistant materials and architectural features.

It extends beyond the home with well-maintained fire-wise landscape to reduce ignition risk and slow fire-spread.

Photo of California landscape with oak trees and native grasses.

It promotes and supports native vegetation and wildlife, and local ecosystems.

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Icon of a house with a light blue circle background.

HOUSE

Start with your home

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LANDSCAPE

Design a native & fire-wise landscape

Icon of a native plant with a dark green circle background.

PLANTS

Understand your environment

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LOCATION

Understand the Wildland-Urban Interface

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COMMUNITY

Improve your resiliency

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RESOURCES

More tools and information

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FAQ

Frequently asked questions and answers

Icon of a house with a light blue circle background.

HOUSE

Start with your home

Icon of mountains with a light green circle background.

LANDSCAPE

Design a native & fire-wise landscape

Icon of a native plant with a dark green circle background.

PLANTS

Understand your environment

Icon of a map location pin with a purple circle background.

LOCATION

Understand the Wildland-Urban Interface

Icon of three people with hands on each others' shoulders with an orange circle background.

COMMUNITY

Improve your resiliency

Icon of a lightbulb with a pink circle background.

RESOURCES

More tools and information

Icon of a question mark with a pink circle background.

FAQ

Frequently asked questions and answers

Photograph of yellow flowers in the Santa Monica Mountains called california brittlebush.

ABOUT US

The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) in Southern California is a biodiverse, fire-adapted landscape that experiences unnaturally high fire frequencies that threaten the resiliency of the ecosystem and the safety of local communities.

The Southern California region, including SMMNRA, is one of the most fire-prone environments in the world and has more homes and area burned per decade than any other region of the US.

To increase wildfire resilience and maintain habitat quality in the Southern California Wildland Urban interface (WUI) it is necessary to:

• Reduce human ignitions and the frequency of large fires
• Manage the WUI to maintain or re-establish native vegetation

Our project focuses on the second objective – offering solutions to improve resilience and resource conservation values, and resistance of structures to wildfire loss for developed properties in the SMMNRA by improving management by homeowners of their defensible space zone.

This platform introduces Sustainable Defensible Space (SDS) as the area around the home extending 100 feet from the home itself. The condition of this space is critical not only to increasing resistance of structures to wildfire loss and safeguarding firefighters’ lives but also to improving conservation values and protecting California’s natural heritage. The landscaping choices in this area provide the greatest opportunity for improved habitat conservation with its associated ecosystem benefits such as increased carbon storage, biodiversity, slope stability and water conservation.

PROJECT LEAD

Logo of the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains

Resource Conservation District
of the Santa Monica Mountains
(RCDSMM)

The mission of the RCDSMM is to promote land stewardship and resource conservation through ecological research, conservation planning and design, habitat restoration and environmental education, while adhering to the highest standards of transparency and accountability as a public agency. Learn more at www.rcdsmm.org.

FUNDING SOURCES

Logo of the California Climate Investments
Logo of CALFIRE

California Department of Forestry
and Fire Protection as part of the California Climate
Investments Program

Funding for Guidance for Sustainable Defensible Space Landscaping in the SMMNRA and Southern California was provided by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection as part of the California Climate Investments Program – a statewide program that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment, particularly in disadvantaged communities.

TECHNICAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Logo of the California Native Plant Society
california-fire-science-consortium
Logo of California State Parks
Logo of the County of Los Angeles Fire Department
Logo of the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning
Mountains Restoration Trust logo
Logo of the National Park Service
Logo of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy
Logo of the Theodore Payne Foundation
Logo of the North Topanga Canyon Fire Safe Council
Logo of the nonprofit TreePeople
Logo of the United States Geological Survey
Logo of the University of California Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Logo of the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability.
VCFD-Logo-Hi-Res

BRAND, WEB AND PRODUCTION

Logo of the design firm Rios
Logo of the web-design firm Persechini.
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