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image of Fire Safe Regulations bookletFire Safe Regulations
Title 14 Natural Resources
Division 1.5 Department of Forestry
Chapter 7 - Fire Protection
Subchapter 2 SRA Fire Safe Regulations
Fire Safe Regulations Booklet

 Article 1 | Article 2Article 3Article 4Article 5Index


1270.00. Title 
1270.01. Purpose 
1270.02. Scope
1270.03. Local Ordinances
1270.04. Provisions for Application of these Regulations 
1270.05. Inspection Authority
1270.06. Inspections
1270.07. Exceptions to Standards
1270.08. Request for Exceptions
1270.09. Appeals
1271.00. Definitions 
1271.05. Distance Measurements
1272.00. Maintenance of Defensible Space Measures

1270.00. Title

These regulations shall be known as SRA Fire Safe Regulations, and shall constitute the basic wildland fire protection standards of the California Board of Forestry.

1270.01. Purpose

These regulations have been prepared and adopted for the purpose of establishing minimum wildfire protection standards in conjunction with building, construction and development in SRA. A local jurisdiction may petition the Board for certification pursuant to Section 1270.03. Where Board certification has not been granted, these regulations shall become effective September 1, 1991. The future design and construction of structures, subdivisions and developments in State Responsibility Area (SRA) shall provide for basic emergency access and perimeter wildfire protection measures as specified in the following articles. These measures shall provide for emergency access; signing and building numbering; private water supply reserves for emergency fire use; and vegetation modification. The fire protection standards which follow shall specify the minimums for such measures.

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1270.02. Scope

These regulations do not apply to existing structures, roads, streets, and private lanes or facilities. These regulations shall apply as appropriate to all construction within SRA approved after January 1, 1991. Affected activities include but are not limited to:

(a) Permitting or approval of new parcels, excluding lot line adjustments as specified in Government Code(GC) Section 66412(d),

(b) application for a building permit for new construction, not relating to an existing structure,

(c) applications for a use permit,

(d) the siting of manufactured homes (manufactured homes are as defined by the National Fire Protection Association, National Fire Code, Section 501 A, Standard for Fire Safety Criteria for Manufactured Home installations, Sites and Communities, Chapter 1, Section 1-2, Definitions, page 4, 1987 edition and Health and Safety Code Sections 18007, 18008 and 19971),

(e) road construction, including construction of a road that does not currently exist, or extension of an existing road.

Exemption: Roads required as a condition of tentative parcel maps prior to the effective date of these regulations; roads for agricultural or mining use solely on one ownership; and roads used solely for the management and harvesting of wood products.

1270.03. Local Ordinances

Nothing contained in these regulations shall be considered as abrogating the provisions of any ordinance, rule or regulation of any state or local jurisdiction providing such ordinance, rule regulation or general plan element is equal to or more stringent than these minimum standards. The Board may certify local ordinances as equaling or exceeding these regulations when they provide the same practical effect.

Click to return to the top of the page 1270.04. Provisions for Application of these Regulations

This subchapter shall be applied as follows:

(a) local jurisdictions shall provide the Director with notice of applications for building permits, tentative parcel maps, tentative maps, and use permits for construction or development within SRA.

(b) the Director shall review and make fire protection recommendations on applicable construction or development or maps provided by the local jurisdiction.

(c) the local jurisdiction shall ensure that the applicable sections of this subchapter become a condition of approval of any applicable construction of development permit or map.

1270.05. Inspection Authority

(a) Inspection shall be made pursuant to Section 1270.06 by:

(1) the Director, or

(2) local jurisdictions that have assumed state fire protection responsibility on SRA land, or

(3) local jurisdictions where these regulations have been implemented through that jurisdiction's building permit or subdivision approval process.

(b) Reports of violations shall be provided to the CDF Ranger Unit headquarters that administers SRA fire protection in that county .

1270.06. Inspections.

The inspection authority may inspect for compliance with these regulations. When inspections are conducted, they should occur prior to: the issuance of the use permit; certificate of occupancy; the recordation of the parcel map or final map; the filing of a notice of completion; or the final inspection of any project or building permit.

1270.07. Exceptions to Standards

Upon request by the applicant, exceptions to standards within this subchapter and mitigated practices may be allowed by the inspection authority, where the exception provide the same overall practical effect as these regulations towards providing defensible space.

Click to return to the top of the page 1270.08. Request for Exceptions

Requests for an exception shall be made in writing to the inspection authority by the applicant or the applicant's authorized representative. The request shall state the specific section(s) for which an exception is requested, material facts supporting the contention of the applicant, the details of the exception or mitigating measure proposed, and a map showing the proposed location and siting of the exception or mitigation measure.

1270.09. Appeals

Where an exception is not granted by the inspection authority, the applicant may appeal such denial to the local jurisdiction. The local jurisdiction may establish or utilize an appeal process consistent with existing local building or planning department appeal processes. Before the local jurisdiction makes a determination on an appeal, the inspection authority shall be consulted and shall provide to that local jurisdiction documentation outlining the effects of the requested exception on wildland fire protection.

If an appeal is granted, the local jurisdiction shall make findings that the decision meets the intent of providing defensible space consistent with these regulations. Such findings shall include a statement of reasons for the decision. A written copy of these findings shall be provided to the CDF Ranger Unit headquarters that administers SRA fire protection in that county.

Click to return to the top of the page 1271.00. Definitions

Accessory building:> Any building used as an accessory to residential, commercial, recreational, industrial, or educational purposes as defined in the California Building Code, 1989 Amendments, Chapter 11, Group M, Division 1 Occupancy that requires a building permit.

Agriculture: Land used for agricultural purposes as defined in a local jurisdiction's zoning ordinances.

Building: Any structure used or intended for supporting or sheltering any use of occupancy that is defined in the California Building Code, 1989 Amendments, Chapter 11, except Group M, Division 1 , Occupancy. For the purposes of this subchapter, building includes mobile homes and manufactured homes, churches, and day care facilities.

CDF: California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Dead-end road: A road that has only one point of vehicular ingress/egress, including cul-de- sacs and looped roads.

Defensible space: The area within the perimeter of a parcel, development, neighborhood or community where basic wildland fire protection practices and measures are implemented, providing the key point of defense from an approaching wildfire or defense against encroaching wildfires or escaping structure fires. The perimeter as used in this regulation is the area encompassing the parcel or parcels proposed for construction and/or development, excluding the physical structure itself. The area is characterized by the establishment and maintenance of emergency vehicle access, emergency water reserves, street names and building identification, and fuel modification measures.

Development: As defined in Section 66418.1 of the California Government Code.

Director: Director of the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection or his/her designee.

Driveway: A vehicular access that serves no more than two buildings, with no more than three dwelling units on a single parcel, and any number of accessory buildings.

Dwelling unit: Any building or portion thereof which contains living facilities, including provisions for sleeping, eating, cooking and/or sanitation for not more than one family.

Exception: An alternative to the specified standard requested by the applicant that may be necessary due to health, safety, environmental conditions, physical site limitations or other limiting conditions such as recorded historical sites, that provide mitigation of the problem.

Fire valve: See hydrant.

Fuel modification area: An area where the volume of flammable vegetation has been reduced, providing reduced fire intensity and duration.

Greenbelts: A facility or land-use, designed for a use other that fire protection, which will slow or resist the spread of a wildfire. Includes parking lots, irrigated or landscaped areas, golf courses, parks, playgrounds, maintained vineyards, orchards or annual crops that do not cure in the field.

Hammerhead/T: A roadway that provides a "T" shaped, three-point turnaround space for emergency equipment, being no narrower that the road that serves it.

Hydrant: A valved connection on a water supply/storage system, having at least one 2 1/2 inch outlet, with male American National Fire Hose Screw Threads(NH) used to supply fire apparatus and hoses with water .

Local jurisdiction: Any county, city/county agency or department, or any locally authorized district that issues or approves building permits, use permits, tentative maps or tentative parcel maps, or has authority to regulate development and construction activity.

Occupancy: The purpose for which a building, or part thereof, is used or intended to be used.

One-way road: A minimum of one traffic lane width designed for traffic flow in one direction only.

Roads, streets, private lanes: Vehicular access to more than one parcel; access to any industrial or commercial occupancy; or vehicular access to a single parcel with more than two buildings or four or more dwelling units.

Roadway: Any surface designed, improved, or ordinarily used for vehicle travel.

Roadway structures: Bridges, culverts, and other appurtenant structures which supplement the roadway bed or shoulders.

Same practical effect: As used in this subchapter means an exception or alternative with the capability of applying accepted wildland fire suppression strategies and tactics, and provisions for fire fighter safety, including:

(a) access for emergency wildland fire equipment,

(b) safe civilian evacuation,

(c) signing that avoids delays in emergency equipment response,

(d) available and accessible water to effectively attack wildfire or defend a structure from wildfire, and

(e) fuel modification sufficient for civilian and fire fighter safety.

Shoulder: Roadbed or surface adjacent to the traffic lane.

State Board of Forestry (SBOF): A nine member board, appointed by the Governor, which is responsible for developing the general forest policy of the state, for determining the guidance policies of the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, and for representing the state's interest in federal land in California.

State Responsibility Area (SRA): As defined in the Public Resources Code Section 4126-4127; and the California Code of Regulations, Title 14, Division 1.5, Chapter 7, Article 1, Sections 1220-1220.5.

Structure: That which is built or constructed, an edifice or building of any kind, or any piece of work artificially built up or composed of parts joined together in some definite manner .

Subdivision: As defined in Section 66424 of the Government Code.

Traffic lane: The portion of a roadway that provides a single line of vehicle travel.

Turnaround: A roadway, unobstructed by parking, which allows for a safe opposite change of direction for emergency equipment. Design of such area may be a hammerhead/T or terminus bulb.

Turnouts: A widening in a roadway to allow vehicles to pass.

Vertical clearance: The minimum specified height of a bridge or overhead projection above the roadway.

Wildfire: As defined in Public Resources Code Section 4103 and 4104.

Click to return to the top of the page 1271.05. Distance Measurements

All specified or referenced distances are measured along the ground, unless otherwise stated.

1272.00. Maintenance of Defensible Space Measures.

To ensure continued maintenance of properties in conformance with these standards and measures and to assure continue availability, access, and utilization of the defensible space provided for these standards during a wildfire, provisions for annual maintenance shall be included in the development plans and/or shall be provided as a condition of the permit, parcel or map approval.