Vacant Lot Requirements

In an effort to work cooperatively with vacant lot owners and maintain a fire-safe community, Central Fire District requests that vacant lot owners review the fire safety requirements below. We are asking that vacant lots meet the standards by April 2, 2024, when our Defensible Space Inspectors begin inspections in our Fire District.

Defensible Space FAQs (PDF)

Fire Safety Requirements

Please review the following fire safety requirements and correct any hazardous conditions as necessary:

• Cut and remove or modify brush to break up continuity. 
• Cut all grass and weeds to a maximum height of 4-6 inches (see below). 
• If your parcel has dead standing trees you should consider removing them. 
• Remove all dead fallen material. (Remove branches on recent fallen trees). 
• Remove that portion of any dead tree limb within 10 feet of the ground. 
• Remove branches up to six-feet from the ground for trees more than 20 feet tall. For trees less than 20 feet in height, limb branches within the lower 1/3 portion of the tree height.
• Remove all cut material from the parcel, or chip and spread on site. However, if you have erosion control concerns, then the “chop and scatter” method is approved. 

For lots less than one acre:

• Complete as outlined above, for the entire lot. If you own lots that share a common border/side, they can be treated as one lot.

For lots over an acre:

• For lots greater than one acre, please complete as outlined above for a distance of 30 feet within the exterior boundary of the property, or as advised by the Defensible Space Inspector. If you own lots that share a common border/side, they can be treated as one lot. 

It is the property owners’ responsibility to ensure prior to performing any vegetative fuels clearance work that they are not harming or destroying any protected wildlife, plants, trees, or violating any erosion/environmental concern areas. Contact Santa Cruz County Environmental Planning at (831) 454-3548 for more information.

The Fire Department is providing this proactive information to give you plenty of time to mitigate any fire safety concerns. If you wish to discuss this matter, please contact (831) 685-6698. Thank you for your cooperation in our ongoing efforts to keep our community safe.