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About this chapter: Chapter 6 establishes minimum fire protection requirements to mitigate the hazards to life and property from fire in the wildland-urban interface. The chapter includes both design-oriented and prescriptive mitigation strategies to reduce the hazards of fire originating within a structure spreading to wildland and fire originating in wildland spreading to structures.

Especially targeted for a systems-approach to fire protection are those new buildings that are deemed to be particularly hazardous under Chapter 5; these buildings are required to be sprinklered. Other hazard mitigation strategies include establishing around structures defensible space zones wherein combustible vegetation and trees are regulated and kept away from buildings and trees are located 10 feet crown-to-crown away from each other. Additional hazards that are dealt with in Chapter 6 include spark arresters on chimneys and regulated storage of combustible materials, firewood and LP-gas.

The provisions of this chapter establish general requirements for new and existing buildings, structures and premises located within wildland-urban interface areas.

The objective of this chapter is to establish minimum requirements to mitigate the risk to life and property from wildland fire exposures, exposures from adjacent structures and to prevent structure fires spreading to wildland fuels.

Section 602 Automatic Sprinkler Systems

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602.1 General

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Provisions of this section are intended to modify the fuel load in areas adjacent to structures to create a defensible space.

Buildings or structures, constructed in compliance with the conforming defensible space category of Table 503.1, shall comply with the fuel modification distances contained in Table 603.2. For all other purposes the fuel modification distance shall be not less than 30 feet (9144 mm) or to the lot line, whichever is less. Distances specified in Table 603.2 shall be measured on a horizontal plane from the perimeter or projection of the building or structure as shown in Figure 603.2. Distances specified in Table 603.2 are allowed to be increased by the code official because of a site-specific analysis based on local conditions and the fire protection plan.

TABLE 603.2

REQUIRED DEFENSIBLE SPACE

WILDLAND-URBAN
INTERFACE AREA
FUEL MODIFICATION DISTANCE
(feet)a
Moderate hazard30
High hazard50
Extreme hazard100

For SI: 1 foot = 304.8 mm.

  1. Distances are allowed to be increased due to site-specific analysis based on local conditions and the fire protection plan.

FIGURE 603.2

MEASUREMENTS OF FUEL MODIFICATION DISTANCE

Persons owning, leasing, controlling, operating or maintaining buildings or structures requiring defensible spaces are responsible for modifying or removing nonfire-resistive vegetation on the property owned, leased or controlled by said person.
Trees are allowed within the defensible space, provided that the horizontal distance between crowns of adjacent trees and crowns of trees and structures, overhead electrical facilities or unmodified fuel is not less than 10 feet (3048 mm).
Deadwood and litter shall be regularly removed from trees. Where ornamental vegetative fuels or cultivated ground cover, such as green grass, ivy, succulents or similar plants are used as ground cover, they are allowed to be within the designated defensible space, provided that they do not form a means of transmitting fire from the native growth to any structure.

Section 604 Maintenance of Defensible Space

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604.1 General

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604.2 Modified Area

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604.3 Responsibility

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604.4 Trees

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604.4.1 Chimney Clearance

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604.4.2 Deadwood Removed

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Chimneys serving fireplaces, barbecues, incinerators or decorative heating appliances in which solid or liquid fuel is used, shall be provided with a spark arrester. Spark arresters shall be constructed of woven or welded wire screening of 12 USA standard gage wire (0.1046 inch) (2.66 mm) having openings not exceeding 1/2 inch (12.7 mm).
The net free area of the spark arrester shall be not less than four times the net free area of the outlet of the chimney.
The storage of liquefied petroleum gas (LP-gas) and the installation and maintenance of pertinent equipment shall be in accordance with the International Fire Code or, in the absence thereof, recognized standards.
LP-gas containers or tanks shall be located within the defensible space in accordance with the International Fire Code.
Firewood and combustible material shall not be stored in unenclosed spaces beneath buildings or structures, or on decks or under eaves, canopies or other projections or overhangs. Where required by the code official, storage of firewood and combustible material stored in the defensible space shall be located not less than 20 feet (6096 mm) from structures and separated from the crown of trees by a horizontal distance of not less than 15 feet (4572 mm).
Firewood and combustible materials not for consumption on the premises shall be stored so as to not pose a hazard. See Appendix A.
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