Create 100′ of Defensible Space

Cabin owners must do fuel reduction around their cabins annually in the spring. This is known as creating defensible space and helps protect both the cabin and the firefighters in case of a forest fire.

Maintaining defensible space around each and every cabins is vitally important to fire safety for our own cabin, our neighbors, Laguna Mountain and the surrounding communities. The Chariot Fire that burned on Mount Laguna July, 2013 and other catastrophic fires within San Diego County in the last decade have brought the point home all too well that fire safety is everyone’s concern and responsibility. Creating defensible space is a key component to effective fire prevention and fire fighting, if necessary.

The Forest Service has implemented defensible space management zones for Cleveland National Forest structures including cabins. These requirements are also in compliance with relevant sections of the San Diego County Fire Code, CalFire guidelines and other Forest land management policies.

What are the defensible space zones?


  • Zone 1 – “Lean, Clean and Green Zone”

This is the area all the way around the cabin to a point of 30’ away from the structure. Zone 1 must be cleared of brush, leaves, pine needles, tree branches, and flammable material. Special care must be given to trim tree branches over-hanging cabin roofs, near chimneys and stove pipes. Firewood must be stacked 30′ away from all structures.


  •  Zone 2 – “Reduced Fuel Zone”

This area is between 30’ to 100’ from the cabin. Native vegetation must be thinned by 50%. Lower tree branches must be trimmed at least five feet off the ground.All dead and dying vegetation must be removed.


Click on Fire Safe Council  for complete cabin fire safety information.


Woodstoves and fireplaces commonly provide cabin heat in the colder months. Fire precautions and regular maintenance are essential to keep your cabin safe when using them.

Safety Tips

  • Use only seasoned wood, not green wood, for fuel.
  • Never burn trash, paper or artificial logs in them.  Burning inappropriate material can cause heavy creosote buildup and create a fire hazard.
  • Inspect and clean chimneys and stovepipes regularly for creosote buildup, obstructions, and cracks. Inspect legs, hinges and door seals for smooth (uncracked) joints and seams.
  • Keep combustible objects at least three feet away from wood stoves.
  • Be sure the fireplace damper is open before starting any fire.
  • Use a fireplace screen heavy enough to stop rolling logs, and big enough to cover the opening.
  • Be sure the fire is out before going to bed and when leaving your cabin.
  • Store cooled ashes in a tightly sealed metal contain outside the cabin.