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Hazardous Vegetation Abatement

State law requires owners of improved parcels (ones that have a structure on them) maintain 100 feet of defensible space around any structure. Unfortunately, defensible space ended at the property line; the law doesn’t apply to unimproved parcels, ones without a structure. A structure with limited setback could face danger from a neighbor’s brush-choked, unimproved parcel. In response, Placer County developed a hazardous vegetation abatement ordinance. This local ordinance extends the state law’s 100-foot requirement beyond the property line and onto adjacent, unimproved parcels. 

The ordinance applies when an “extra hazardous” fire condition exists. When the owner of improved property is at risk from fire fuels on an adjacent, unimproved property, and it is not possible for an improved parcel owner to obtain the required 100 feet of defensible space, the county’s ordinance kicks in. The HVA ordinance does not apply when an improved parcel is adjacent to another improved parcel.  In this situation, parcel owners are encouraged to work with their neighbors to obtain necessary defensible space. 

Defensible Space:

A Cal Fire tanker drops fire retardant on the Stagecoach Fire near Auburn

This is the single most effective strategy for protecting structures and assisting firefighting efforts. State law requires 100 feet of defensible space. Local fire agencies perform defensible space inspections to ensure residences meet the state required standards.

Chipper Program:

This program provides free chipping to Placer County residents to assist in reducing large flammable piles into small biodegradable piles. Property owners living in the wildland urban interface can have material created from thinning activities on their properties chipped onsite. To access the chipper program, use the following contacts.

  • Placer County Fire/CAL FIRE Hazard Mitigation Program at (530) 745-3574 or 3575
  • Meadow Vista/Applegate: Placer Hills Fire District, (530) 878-0405.
  • Foresthill: Foresthill Fire Department, (530) 367-2465.
  • South Placer: South Placer Fire Protection District, (916) 791-7059.
  • Auburn: Auburn City Fire Department, (530) 823-4211, ext. 173.

To sign up for chipping at North Tahoe Fire Protection District: Visit Under Prevention, go to defensible space/chipping, or call 530-584-2322
• The District provides a free chipping service to residential customers.
• Once you have scheduled your chipping, work is performed according to area specific zones. A schedule is available on our website, and also posted online when a chipping request is submitted. 
• Chips are broadcast back onto the homeowner's property. 


Fire Safe Councils:

The Placer Fire Safe Councils' purpose is to work together to reduce the loss of life and property from wildfires. The Councils do this by developing Community Fire Safe Plans, reducing fuel levels, effectively communicating with area residents and motivating them to take action to protect their homes and property prior to a wildfire. To contact a Fire Safe Council, please call the Office of Emergency Services at (530)886-5300 or email

Additional information about the councils is available online at There are five Fire Safe Councils in Western Placer County: