Los Angeles City Fire Code Requirements
Effective Date: May 1, 2023
The following brush clearance requirements are important for every homeowner or renter living in a property that exists within the Wildland Urban Interface.
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- Maintain all weeds and grasses at a maximum height of 3 inches.
- Maintain the lower 1/3rd of trees and shrubs by removing all leafy foliage, twigs, and branches up to a maximum of six (6) feet from the ground (i.e., any tree 18 feet or higher requires only six (6) feet of clearance).
- Remove all dead trees and shrubs.
- Maintain five (5) feet of vertical clearance between roof surfaces and portions of overhanging trees and shrubs (any overhanging foliage must be at least 5 feet above the roof).
- Remove any portion of a tree or shrub within 10-foot radius of a chimney outlet.
- Maintain the roofs of all structures free of leaves, needles, twigs and other combustible matter.
- Remove all dead/dry undergrowth and material within trees and shrubs to include all dead or dry palm fronds/branches.
- Once brush clearance is conducted, remove and safely dispose of all cut or bagged vegetation, all dead trees and all debris. This includes all combustible junk, trash or debris that may be on your property, regardless of how it got there. Combustible debris may include, but is not limited to, paper trash, cardboard boxes, household trash, fabric/clothing, plastic, rubber/tires, or piles of yard waste.
- Cut vegetation may be machine processed (chipped) and spread as ground cover (mulch) so it does not exceed 3 inches in depth within 30 feet of structures and no more than 6 inches in depth 30+ feet from structures/buildings. Machine processed/chipped material shall not be placed within 10 feet of combustible fences or road surfaces.
- Trim Native shrubs/brush so foliage is removed from lower third up to a maximum of SIX (6) feet. Native shrubs shall not exceed 216 cubic feet in volume and shall be spaced not less than 3 times its maximum height but not less than 18 feet from other native shrubs, structures, and combustible material.
- NOTE: Native Shrubs/Brush are indigenous plants that mostly grow wild without any watering or care. High Energy Release Shrubs/Brush include, but are not limited to, Junipers, Spanish or Scotch Broom, Manzanita, Service Berry, Mountain Mahogany/Whitethorn, Sage, and Rabbit Brush, and as determined by the LAFD Fire Chief.
- Maintain all other landscape vegetation, including, but not limited to, conifers (e.g., cedar, cypress, fir, juniper, and pine), eucalyptus, acacia, palm and pampas grass in such a condition as not to provide an available fuel supply to augment the spread or intensity of a fire or impede egress of emergency vehicles. This includes trimming up and removing all dead and dry material as required above.
- Firewood shall be located 30 feet away from any structure or shall be completely enclosed within a fire resistive closed container.
- Trim back vegetation and maintain 3 feet radius clearance around fire hydrants.
- Vegetation/branches extending past curb and over the street shall be trimmed back to the curb line and up a minimum of 14 feet vertically from the roadway surface to the lowest overhanging branch to provide clearance for emergency vehicles.
- NOTE: Vegetation/branches extending over the sidewalk shall also be trimmed up a minimum of 9 feet vertically from the sidewalk surface to the lowest overhanging branch so as not to obstruct or interfere with the free passage of pedestrians.
These requirements may change slightly year over year. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Brush Clearance Unit of the Los Angeles City Fire Department.