Fuel Modification is a strip of land between an improved property and wildlands, where combustible vegetation has been removed, thinned, or modified and may be partially or totally replaced with approved drought-tolerant, fire-resistant, and/or irrigated plants to provide an acceptable level of risk from vegetation fires. Fuel modification reduces radiant and convective heat, thereby reducing the amount of heat exposure on the roadway or structure and providing fire suppression personnel a safer area in which to take action. Fuel modification has proven to be a major factor in reducing fire spread onto structures from wildfires. When combined with special building requirements set forth in CBC Chapter 7A, the ignition of structures is further reduced.
As of January 1, 2020 new Fuel Modification requirements are required for new construction or 2,500 sq. ft. of landscaping changes. Properties located in the VHFHSZ are subject to the Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance (MWELO) California Code of Regulations Title 23 and required to submit Fuel Modification Landscape Plans for review and approval by the Fire Code Official.
Fuel Modification Submittal
Compliance of fuel modification requirements will be reviewed in collaboration with building and safety. Fuel Modification requirements shall be incorporated into the water efficient landscape plan. Please submit two sets of plans to building and safety for review.
Fuel Modification Content
A Fuel Modification plan shall include the following information:
- A copy of site plan with property line indicated
- Location and list of newly planted vegetation
- Confirmation that prohibited vegetation will not be planted on-site
- Signed Fuel Modification affidavit from landscape architect and owner
Upon final approval of permit, the landscape architect shall inspect and certify installation of the vegetation in conformance to the approved plan.
Maintenance of vegetation on private property shall be ongoing and the responsibility of property owner per BHMC 4906.3.1
For more information, please view the Fire Department Fuel Modification standard.
For Information on tree removals on private property, please first contact Community Development at 310-285-1411.