Defensible Space

Defensible space is the buffer created around one's home to reduce the intensity of an approaching wildfire, eliminate combustible materials and vegetation that might ignite and spread to your home, and to create a safer space to aid in your evacuation and allow firefighters to defend your home.

Your home may be the most valuable investment you ever make. If you live in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI), protect against the chance of losing that investment by creating defensible space and "hardening" your home with fire-resistant construction materials and design.  In Marin, all residents of the WUI are required by law to maintain defensible space around their homes at all times.

Creating defensible space does not mean you need a ring of bare dirt around your home! Through proper planning, you can have both a beautiful landscape, with lush, green vegetation,  and a fire safe home. 

Learn more about creating Defensible Space at FIRESafe MARIN.


May 1, 2020                         

Dear Property Owner, 

The Central Marin Fire Department provides a thorough and comprehensive vegetation management and inspection program in order to protect lives and property for those who live and enjoy the hillside communities within Larkspur, Corte Madera, and Greenbrae.  The California Fire Code Chapter 49 Sections 4901.1 to 4907.4 as amended and adopted by the City of Larkspur and the Town of Corte Madera, and the California Public Resource Code Section 4291 provides the Fire Department the authority to require property owners to maintain proper defensible space around their home.

On or around May 1st, property owners and/or tenants will receive a “Defensible Space” flyer stating that they will need to create and maintain the required 100-150 feet of defensible space around their homes, and within 10 feet of all roadways and driveways by removing dead and/or hazardous vegetation no later than June 1st. Undeveloped parcels will be required to maintain 30-100 feet of defensible space along neighboring property lines of properties that have been developed by removing dead and/or hazardous vegetation.

Fire inspectors will begin canvasing the community beginning the month of June to verify that your property is in compliance. Properties that are found NOT to be in compliance will receive a “Wildfire Hazard Warning Notice” requiring you to abate the hazard within 15 days. Properties found to be noncompliant after the 15 days will be deemed a fire hazard and/or nuisance and will be referred to the Town of Corte Madera or the City of Larkspur for abatement.

All costs associated with the abatement will be billed to the property owner. Unpaid abatement costs will be placed as a special assessment or lien against the property.

Ruben Martin
Fire Marshal, Central Marin Fire Department



  • Maintain all roofs, gutters, and decks clear of leaves, needles, and dead vegetation.
  • Remove tree branches/limbs that are within 10 feet of a chimney outlet.
  • Remove all tree branches and limbs that overhang within 6 feet (vertically) of a roofline or deck.
  • Remove all vegetation from underneath decks.
  • Remove all combustible storage from underneath decks.
  • Firewood should be relocated to at least 30 feet away from the home or placed in a fire-resistant enclosure.

From the home out 100 to 150 feet or to the property line

  • Cut all dead grasses to below 3 inches in height.
  • Remove all dead vegetation and brush piles on the ground.
  • Remove all dead branches, leaves and foliage from all trees, bushes and ground cover.
  • Remove low hanging tree branches/limbs that are less than 4 inches in diameter a minimum of 10 feet from the ground on mature trees over 30 feet in height, or 1/3 the height from the ground on trees less than 30 feet in height.
  • Remove all fire prone plants located within 30 feet of the home.

Roadway and Driveways

  • Remove all fire prone vegetation within 10 feet of all roadways and driveways horizontally.
  • Maintain a minimum of 14 feet of vertical clearance over roadways and driveways.
  • The following fire prone plant species have been identified as very flammable and/or hazardous. Property owners are strongly encouraged to have them removed if they are located within 10 feet of a roadway or driveway, and within 30 feet of your home.
    1. Juniper
    2. Bamboo
    3. Italian Cypress
    4. Acacia
    5. Pampas Grass

Fire Station 13

Paradise Drive
5600 Paradise DR
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Fire Station 14

Corte Madera: Headquarters
342 Tamalpais Drive
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Fire Station 15

Downtown Larkspur
420 Magnolia Ave.
Larkspur, CA  94939

Fire Station 16

15 Barry Way
Greenbrae, CA  94904

Business Phone: (415) 927-5077   |   Emergencies: Dial 9-1-1

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