Home Ignition Zone
Reduce vegetation and use wildfire-resistant materials in the area around the home.
Taking action in the home ignition zone can affect intensity, exposure, and susceptibility. Explore your community’s risk.
About the Home Ignition Zone
The majority of homes lost to wildfire are first ignited by embers and small flames. By reducing the susceptibility of the area immediately around the home and the home itself, the chances of a home surviving an ember storm or small spot fire are greatly increased. Work in the Home Ignition Zone is also called creating defensible space.
The Home Ignition Zone is an area 100-200 feet from the foundation and includes vegetation, the home itself, and other structures or attachments like decks, furniture, fences, and outbuildings. Home hardening is an important component of the Home Ignition Zone.
The Home Ignition Zone has three subzones:
- The Immediate Zone (0-5 feet from the home, including the home). This is the zone most vulnerable to embers. Install hard surfaces, use noncombustible landscaping, and don’t store materials under decks. Hardening the home to wildfire is also important.
- The Intermediate Zone (5-30 feet from the home). Use careful landscaping to reduce the continuity of fuels and help slow fire down.
- The Extended Zone (30-100+ feet from the home). Space and prune trees and vegetation to keep flames smaller, lower to the ground, and to interrupt fire’s path.
AIM: Action, Implementation & Mitigation
The Action, Implementation, and Mitigation Program (AIM) seeks to increase local capacity and support for wildfire risk reduction activities in high risk communities. Selected participants in AIM will receive technical and financial support and become affiliate members of Coalitions and Collaboratives, Inc. (COCO).
Community Mitigation Assistance Team (CMAT)
Community Mitigation Assistance Teams are a national interagency resource designed to work collaboratively with local partners to build sustainable mitigation programs focused on community fire adaptation actions on the ground. A CMAT works with communities at high risk of wildfire to analyze their mitigation programs and barriers, develop workable solutions to help move mitigation forward, share best mitigation practices for achieving outcomes, and build successful partnerships.
Community Planning Assistance for Wildfire
Community Planning Assistance for Wildfire (CPAW) works with communities to reduce wildfire risk through improved land use planning. CPAW’s team of professional planners, foresters, economists, and risk modelers help communities integrate wildfire mitigation into the development planning process. CPAW services are provided at no cost to the community, and include land use planning recommendations, hazard assessments, custom research, and training.
Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network
The Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network connects and supports people and communities who are striving to live more safely with wildfire. The purpose of FAC Net is to exchange information, collaborate to enhance the practice of fire adaptation, and work together and at multiple scales to help communities live safely with fire. This includes embracing resiliency concepts and taking action before, during and after wildfires. They offer a Fire Adapted Communities Self-Assessment Tool (FAC SAT) to help communities assess their level of fire adaptation and track their capacity to live safely with fire over time
A program of the National Fire Protection Association, Firewise USA® teaches people how to adapt to living with wildfire and encourages neighbors to work together and take action now to prevent losses. Firewise USA® is a network of sites from across the nation taking action and ownership in preparing and protecting their homes against the threat of wildfire.
Ready, Set, Go!
The Ready, Set, Go! (RSG) Program seeks to empower fire departments to engage the residents they serve in wildland fire community risk reduction. The RSG! Program provides tools and resources for fire departments to use as they help residents gain an understanding of their wildland fire risk and actions individuals can take to reduce that risk. The RSG! Program is managed by the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC).
Wildland Fire Assessment Program
The Wildland Fire Assessment Program (WFAP) is a joint effort by the U.S. Forest Service and the National Volunteer Fire Council to provide volunteer firefighters and non-operational personnel, such as Fire Corps members, with training on how to properly conduct assessments for homes located in the wildland-urban interface. The program offers in-person training, online training, and toolkits.
Research & Science
- An Analysis of Wildland-Urban Fire with Implications for Preventing Structure Ignition. Cohen JD. (2019). White Paper.
- Home Destruction Examination: Grass Valley Fire, Lake Arrowhead, California. Cohen JD & Stratton R. (2008). Tech. Paper R5-TP-026b. Vallejo, CA: USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Region.
- How risk management can prevent future wildfire disasters in the wildland-urban interface. Calkin DE, Cohen JD, Finney MA, Thompson MP. (2014). PNAS 111(2), 746-751.
- The Wildland-Urban Interface Fire Problem. Cohen JD. (2010). Fremontia, 38(2)/38(3), 16-22.
Learn how these actions align with federal policies and initiatives.