North America's Premier International Resort Community

Defensible Space

Defensible space is the buffer you create between your home and the wildfire. This buffer is needed to slow or stop the spread towards your home.

Defensible Space Property Walk-Through

Vail Fire Wildland Division staff are available to meet with you one on one and walk through your property to provide recommendations on ways you can improve your defensible space. We can also issue Tree Removal Permits when tree removal is necessary for fire safety. To schedule a defensible space walk-through call (970)477-3475 or fill out the request form.

Defensible Space: Does it work?

Defensible space has proven to be effective in many wildfires. Even in extreme wildfires homes with good defensible space have a much higher chance of survival than those that have not prepared.

It is important that all homes have good defensible space. In many parts of Vail homes are built close together. If a home catches fire the heat that is given off may be enough to catch the homes on either side on fire. Working with your neighbors is the best way to make sure the neighborhood is protected.

Ignition Resistant Landscaping

Besides the home itself the landscaping around the home makes the biggest difference in whether a home survives a wildfire. The materials in the first 30 feet around the home are most important. The Vail Fire “Fire-Resistant Landscaping Guide” has some great tips and recommendations for wise landscaping in the Vail Valley.

The non-combustible zone

The area within 5 feet of the edge of your home should be free of combustible items such as wood mulch and shrubs. This is the area where embers from a fire will accumulate and catch vulnerable areas of your home or deck on fire. Due to the size of mature trees, no trees should be planted closer than 15 feet from the home.

The lean, clean and green zone

The remainder of your landscaped area should be appropriately spaced to prevent fire spread and maintain aesthetics. During a fire thousands of embers will land in your landscaping starting small fires. By spacing out vegetation and separating groups with maintained grass or hardscaping the fires can be kept away from the home.

To help homeowners get rid of overgrown trees and branches Vail Fire has offers a Community Chipping program available from approximately June 1st through October 15th annually. Chipper Flyer To schedule a pick up please call 970-477-3509 or fill out the request form.