Fire Hazard Reduction Program (Brush Clearance)

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The Burbank Fire Department requests that property owners join forces to protect lives and structures from potential wildfires through participation in the annual Fire Hazard Reduction Program (Brush Clearance). We also ask that you continue to maintain your property in a fire safe condition throughout the year. 



Specific Requirements: Each person who has any ownership or possessory interest in, or control of, a parcel of land shall:

  1. Remove from the property all dead trees, and maintain all weeds and other vegetation at a height of no more than three inches, except as otherwise provided herein, if such weeds or other vegetation are within 100 feet of a building or structure located on such property or on adjacent property. The requirement does not apply to the maintenance of trees, ornamental shrubbery, or plants which are used as ground cover provided such do not provide a ready fuel supply to augment the spread or intensity of a fire.


    house illustration


  2. Native shrubs may remain provided such shrubs are trimmed up from the ground to one-third of their height, do not exceed 216 cubic feet in volume, are spaced at a distance of not less than 3 times their maximum diameter but are not less than 18 feet from the edge of any other native shrub, building, or structure, and all dead wood and other combustible material within 18 feet of such shrubs are removed except as provided above.


  3. Maintain trees which are 18 feet or more in height and are within 100 feet of any building or structure or within 10 feet of that portion of any highway, street, alley, or driveway which is improved or used for vehicle travel or other vehicular purposes, so that no leafy foliage, twigs, or branches are within six feet of the ground. Trees and shrubs less than 18 feet shall be trimmed up 1/3 their height.


  4. Remove any portion of a tree which extends within 10 feet of the outlet of a chimney or stovepipe.


  5. Keep all trees, shrubs, and other growing vegetation or portions thereof adjacent to or overhanging any building or structure free of dead limbs, dead palm fronds, branches, and other combustible matter.


  6. Maintain five feet of vertical clearance between roof surfaces and portions or trees overhanging any building or structure.


  7. Remove dead palm fronds on all palm trees located on property.


  8. Maintain the roofs of all buildings or structures free of leaves, needles, twigs, and other combustible matter.


  9. Maintain all weeds and other vegetation located within 10 feet of any combustible fence or an edge of that portion of any highway, street, alley, or driveway improved or used for vehicular travel or for other vehicular purposes at a height of not more than 3 inches. This shall not require the removal of trees, ornamental shrubbery, or plant which are used as ground cover, provided such do not provide a ready fuel supply to augment the spread or intensity of a fire, nor require the removal of native shrubs which meet the requirements set forth in section (2).


  10. Maintain all 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.


  11. Remove and/or safely dispose of all cut vegetation and hazardous refuse.


  12. Burbank Fire Department personnel may introduce greater protection levels in high danger areas. In cases where difficult terrain, danger, erosion, or unusual circumstances make compliance impractical, they may suspend or adjust the requirements.

An additional 100 feet of clearance is also required by the Burbank Fire Department for a total clearance of 200 feet. The native brush in this zone shall be reduced by 50 percent. Sumac clusters shall be reduced “leopard spot” style and meet the requirements outlined in section (2).


The brush may be cut, chipped, or chopped to lay flat and may be left on the site to a maximum depth of 6”.


Clearance must conform to California Fair Plan Standards.


Because weather, native vegetation, and topography make certain areas prone to wildfires, it is important to be aware of what conditions you live in so you can take steps to protect yourself.


Vegetation management is a vital defense against wildfire and soil erosion for residences on hillsides in Southern California. Safety should be a primary component of any hillside landscape plan or maintenance practice.


Selecting plants that are fire safe and that control erosion can be challenging. Evaluate your specific conditions and choose plants that grow easily and abundantly, have a low fuel volume, require infrequent watering, retain moisture, and have a strong deep root system.


If you need a professional opinion regarding steep slope stabilization, you may wish to contact a Soils Engineer (search under Geologists in Google or Yelp). Check your local nursery for specific plant information.


Brush Pix 2Pictured above is an example of how to complete the clearance in the 100-200 foot zone. Note the low brush has been removed leaving some sumac and large specimens that have been separated, limbed up, and thinned out, thus reducing the combustible fire load. The cleared material has been cut, chopped, or chipped in place to lay flat and provide no more than a six inch mulch base to prevent erosion and possible re-growth.

For your convenience, this list of Brush Clearing Vendors provides hazard reduction services to assist landowners in complying with brush clearance codes. This list is not an endorsement of any vendor, and the City of Burbank is not responsible or liable for any services rendered. It is the landowner's responsibility to request current proof of insurance, bond and license, and to obtain any other relevant information about any vendor.

Brush Pix 1
Pictured above is an aerial photo of several Burbank residents exhibiting excellent clearance. This “Defensible Space” protects the homes from advancing flames and buys Firefighters valuable time to set up protective hose lines.
The goal of the Burbank Fire Department is to establish a fire-safe community through voluntary compliance of informed property owners and residents. Inspection and enforcement involves several steps:
  1. Notification

    In April, the Burbank Fire Department mails a notice with guidelines to the owner of property located within the Fire Hazard Reduction Area requesting brush clearance be completed by June 1. Beginning June 1, the Burbank Fire Department will conduct annual brush clearance inspections.


  2. Abatement

    If your property is not in compliance at the time of inspection, you will be sent a correction notice requiring immediate compliance.


  3. Enforcement
    The Fire Marshal is authorized to administer and enforce the provisions of Sec. 9-2-304.1.2.1. Property owners will be notified and provided reasonable timeframes to comply. Failure to meet brush clearance requirements by the June 1 deadline will result in the following fines:

Second Notice (Compliance) - $0.00

Second Notice (Non-Compliance) - $280.00

Third Notice* - $280.00


*Subsequent to the third notice, property owners will be subject to prosecution by the City Attorney in the form of hazard abatement by the City’s designated contractor at the property owner’s expense, restitution, and further legal action.


If you have any questions, please call (818) 238-3473. Thank you for your cooperation.

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