Dealing with the drought - Learn about new regulations and how they affect you.

Wildfire Safety


Wildfires are now a year-round reality in California. This means that both firefighters and residents have to be on heightened alert for the threat of wildfire at all times.

Firefighters train hard and make countless preparations to be ready for a wildfire. Residents need to do the same. Successfully preparing for a wildfire requires you to take personal responsibility for protecting yourself, your family and your property.

The Newport Beach Fire Department takes every precaution to help protect you and your property from a wildfire. But the reality is, during a major wildfire, there will simply not be enough fire engines or firefighters to defend every home, so you must become part of the solution.

If your home borders a natural area, what firefighters call the Wildland Urban Interface, you are at risk from a wildfire. And, if you live within one mile of a natural area, you live in the Ember Zone. Homes in the Ember Zone are at risk from wind-driven embers from a wildfire.

You must do all you can to make your home resistant to wildfires and prepare your family to leave early and safely. We call this process, “Ready, Set, Go!”

On this page you’ll find information about the Ember Zone and how to retrofit your home with ignition resistive features. We’ll show you the importance of having defensible space around your home and the preparations you need to make so you can leave early, evacuating well ahead of the fire.

Wildfires, fueled by a build-up of dry vegetation and driven by hot, dry winds, are extremely dangerous and almost impossible to control. Many residents have built their homes and landscaped without fully understanding the impact a fire could have on them. This Web site will help you prepare your home so you can leave early, confident that you’ve done everything you can reasonably do to protect your home.

It’s not a question of if, but when, the next wildfire will occur. That’s why the most important person protecting your life and property is not a firefighter, but you. With advance planning and preparation, you can dramatically increase your safety and the survivability of your property.

Wildland Fire Safety Information
Ready! Set! Go Brochure - This brochure helps you prepare your home and family in case of a wildfire.  For copies please call 949-644-3110.

The following videos include interviews with individuals who were affected by Orange County Wildfires.  The videos will show you how you can prepare your home and family before a fire.  Additionally, it will show you what to do when fires occur. 

Program Introduction
Program Guide
Melody Lane Fire

For more information regarding wildland fire safety, contact Fire Prevention at 949-644-3106.

Wildfire Safety Brochure
Ready- Set- Go Wildland Fire Safety Brochure which will help you to plan in case a wildland fire occurs near you.

Protect Your Home with Defensible Space or Fuel Modification
Homes located next to vegetation must have either defensible space or a fuel modification program. Defensible space is a clear or sparsely planted area around your home. Fuel modification zones, required for most homes built after1980, are buffer areas between homes and flammable vegetation. By maintaining these fuel breaks, you are protecting your home and you are providing firefighters with a place to take a stand.

Horizontal Clearance

Fuel Modification
Fire-resistant plants can act as a firebreak and protect your home.
The following is just a small list of fire resistant plants/shrubs:
Aloe Vera
Bird of Paradise
Ice Plant
Star Jasmine
Wild Strawberry

Fire Resistive Plant List Common Name
Fire Resistive Plant List Botanical Name
Fire Resistive Plant List Plant Form

Clear a Defensible Space
Clear flammable vegetation 30 feet from any structure.
Thin vegetation within 70 feet; replace with fire resistant plants.
Clear dead leaves and needles from roof and rain gutters.
Space trees and shrubs at least 10 feet apart.
Relocate woodpiles or other combustible materials at least 30 feet from any structure.
Maintain a clear space of 10 feet around propane gas tanks.

Defensible Space Brochures
Checklist for House
Defensible Space

Harden the House
Install a ½ inch mesh screen over chimneys.
Remove branches within ten feet of chimneys.
Install a ¼ inch mesh screen over attic vents.
Select non-combustible roof and enclose all eaves.
Make sure your address number is visible from the street. Consider installing fire sprinklers and dual pane glass.
Contact your local building official for assistance.

Get Prepared Before the Fire
Make a Kit
• Keep some old shoes and flashlights handy for a night evacuation.
• Keep the six “P’s” ready, in case an immediate evacuation is required:
    • People and pets
    • Papers, phone numbers and important documents
    • Prescriptions, pills and eyeglasses
    • Pictures and irreplaceable memorabilia
    • Personal computer (information on hard drives and disks)
    • “Plastic” (credit cards and cash)
Make a Plan
• Keep your car’s fuel tank full and park facing out.
• Have a family emergency plan and re-unification plan.

When Wildfire Approaches
• Stay informed through television, radio and local agencies.
• Evacuate if directed by authorities, or if fire is headed toward your home.
• Close heavy draperies; but remove lightweight curtains.
• Leave lights on in the house to mark your home for emergency responders.
• Turn off propane gas supply at the tank.
• Evacuate using pre-identified road “escape routes.”
• Watch for downed power lines –treat all wires as energized and lethal.
• If you can see the fire close-by, it may be too late to travel: seek shelter in your house orin a wide, clear, safe area.

What if my kids are in school?

• Firefighters will prioritize protecting and evacuating school sites.
• Know your school’s evacuation plans and where they will take your student.
• Develop an emergency plan for baby sitters and other care providers.

What should I do with my animals?
• Take small animals with you if you can.
• Take large stock animals to alternate stables
• Do not release large stock animals to run wild.

What If I Choose to Ignore Evacuation Orders?
• Be prepared for intense heat and black, blinding, choking smoke.
• Keep hoses, portable pumps, rakes and shovels available.
• Fill tubs, pools and ponds with water.
• Attach hoses to outside taps or pump.
• Place a metal ladder outside for roof access.
• Wear long sleeve shirts, long pants, heavyboots, gloves, goggles and a bandana.
• Inside your house is the safest place to seek temporary refuge as the fire front passes.
• If the house or propane tank becomes involved in fire, seek secondary shelter.
• Once the fire front passes, be ready to putout fires on your roof or in your attic.

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