Wildland Management and Enforcement
The San Diego Fire-Rescue Wildland Management and Enforcement section comprises of four programs:
The Real Estate Defensible Space Inspection Program, Proactive Door to Door Brush Management Program, Annual Weed Abatement Vacant Lot Program and the Weed Abatement and Brush Complaint Program. It is important that residents understand it is their responsibility to maintain their defensible space within 100 feet of habitable structures. The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department does not have the resources to conduct weed abatement on behalf of privately owned parcels within the City of San Diego.
Real Estate Defensible Space Inspection Program
The Real Estate Defensible Space Inspection went into effect as of July 1, 2021, when Assembly Bill 38 became California Civil Code 1102.19(a) established that when you sell property that is located in a high or very high fire hazard severity zone you'll need documentation of a compliant defensible space inspection that complies with Section 4291 of the Public Resources Code or local vegetation management ordinances (SDMC 142.0412).
Search your property address in the map below to verify your property is in a very high fire hazard severity zone (VHFHSZ). Please vist our Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones page for more information.
Please complete and submit the application below to request an inspection. An invoice for the amount of $118.00 will be mailed to the billing address indicated on the application.
After submitting your application you will receive a follow-up phone call or email from a Defensible Space Inspector within 2 to 4 business days to make an appointment. Inspections are conducted during regular business hours 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday and can take 10 to 14 business days from the request date to conduct. After the inspection you will receive the inspection report stating whether the property is in compliance.
Any additional questions or concerns regarding the Real Estate Defensible Space Inspection can be sent to SDFDDSInspections@sandiego.gov.
When is a Real Estate Defensible Space Inspection Required?
California Civil Code 1102.19(a) established that, as of July 1, 2021, when you sell property that is located in a high or very high fire hazard severity zone you'll need documentation of a compliant Defensible Space Inspection (DSI) that complies with Section 4291 of the Public Resources Code or local vegetation management ordinances (SDMC 142.0412).
Will I be charged for a Real Estate Defensible Space Inspection?
Beginning July 1, 2022, a $118.00 fee will be charged for a Real Estate Defensible Space Inspection. Please do not remit payment with the application. An invoice will be sent to the billing address indicated on the application.
Please note: Cancellation requests must be made at least two (2) business days prior to scheduled inspection or you will be charged for the inspection. You will need to submit a new application after a cancelled inspection request if you still wish to receive an inspection.
When should I submit the request?
A copy of the completed inspection report that shows proof the property has been inspected, and has passed that inspection, within six (6) months prior to entering a sales contract.
What if my property does not pass the inspection?
If your property does not pass on the first attempt, the inspector will explain what work needs to be completed to bring the property into compliance and schedule a reinspection date. The property will be required to be brought into compliance within the legal due process time frame. However, if the property will not meet compliance with City’s SDMC 142.0412 or California Fire Code prior the close of escrow, the seller and the buyer shall enter into a written agreement pursuant to which the buyer agrees to obtain documentation of compliance within one year after closing escrow.
Proactive Door-to-Door Brush Management Program
This is a City-wide program where there is a door-to-door brush assessment conducted of privately owned properties on a canyon rim in the very high hazard severity zone in the City of San Diego, which is the local responsibility area (LRA). Assessments of properties that are not within the program are performed on a complaint basis only.
Click the button below to open the map and see where door-to-door assessments are currently being conducted.
Annual Weed Abatement Vacant Lot Program
The program is focused on addressing privately owned vacant lots that are not in compliance with brush management regulations. The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department does not have the resources to conduct weed abatement, therefore, we utilize Fire Prevention Services Inc., a City-contracted private company.
Fire Prevention Services Inc. (FPSI), a City-contracted private company, runs the proactive program for privately owned vacant lots. Following the winter rains, FPSI sends a Request for Weed Abatement Cooperation form letter to property owners requesting that they voluntarily cut and remove weeds and combustible waste matter from their lots. The request informs the owner(s) that an on-site inspection will be conducted within 30 days.
At the time of the inspection, if a property is in violation of the California Fire Code, a Notice of Violation will be issued by FPSI, acting as the agent for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.
When a property with a structure which has been issued a Notice of Violation for weed abatement is not brought into compliance, the property will be abated by a City contractor. The property owner will incur all costs for the Administrative Abatement Procedure, Municipal Code 54.0206.
Why did I receive a notice for my vacant lot?
The Notice is an annual reminder, sent by Fire Prevention Services Inc. (FPSI), to owners of vacant parcels within the City of San Diego.
A few weeks after the reminder is sent, FPSI will be conducting inspections on the vacant properties. Properties not in compliance with the City Municipal Code and the California Fire Code will be issued an official Notice of Violation for compliance.
What authority does FPSI have to enforce the Notice of Violation I received for my vacant property?
FPSI has the legal authority, as an agent of the City of San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, to enforce the California Fire Code as it pertains to weeds and combustible debris in the City of San Diego. It is the owner's responsibility to keep his/her property free of fire hazards at all times.
Do I have a right to an appeal hearing?
Yes. If you protest the code as it pertains to your parcel, or if you want to request an exemption from clearing the property at this time, you must submit the appeal in writing to San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, Attn: Weed Abatement, 600 B Street, Suite 1300, San Diego, CA 92101. Parcels cannot arbitrarily be exempted.
What will happen if I do nothing to the property and don't request an appeal hearing?
The property will be cleared by the contractor and the property owner will incur all costs for the Administrative Abatement Procedure per Municipal Code 54.0206 (PDF).
How much will it cost to have the city clear my property?
The City's cost to clear a parcel will be extremely high compared to what the cost would be privately. The price for city abatements are set by a contract agreement.
I no longer own the property, what do I do with the notice?
At times, the records available are not always up to date. The notice is sent to the Owner of Record listed on the last county assessment roll. Please let FPSI know immediately if you no longer own the property by calling 619-562-1058.
Why do I have to clear the parkway when it is City property?
It is the owner's responsibility to maintain his property extending to the center of the street, including parkways, sidewalks, alleys, easements, etc. in accordance with the state weed abatement requirements and Municipal Code 54.0206.
Why am I responsible for clearing when others are dumping all the trash on my property?
Per Sec 54.0201 of the Municipal Code, the property owner is responsible for the maintenance of his/her own property at all times.
The lot next to mine is filthy and no work is ever done. Why?
The lot may not have been included in the Annual Weed Abatement Program because records indicated that a change in ownership was recorded after the Notice of Violation was issued.
To register a complaint regarding brush and weed issues, call Brush Management/Weed Abatement at 619-533-4444.
My neighbor has a mulch pile on his property. Is this legal?
Any mulch, compost or fertilizer poses a fire hazard. Depending on its contents, any of these are subject to spontaneous ignition under certain conditions. A fire burning within compost, mulch or fertilizer is very difficult to extinguish. The consistency of a mulch pile or compost should be of small, chipped pieces of natural waste material that decays in a timely manner.
San Diego Municipal Code 44.0108 (PDF) states: "No person shall place or deposit, or cause to be placed or deposited, any garbage, dead animals, or any animal or vegetable matter, or any putrid or decaying matter of any kind, at any place within the corporate limits of the said City of San Diego, without burying the same in trenches at least six feet deep and covering the same with no less than two feet of soil."
San Diego Municipal Code 44.0203 (PDF) states: "No person shall keep or store any fertilizer in excess of two cubic yards, on any premises within fifty (50) feet of any building occupied as a residence by human beings except in a container, bin or room which is fly-tight, dust proof and ventilated in such a manner as to prevent the fertilizer materials from becoming a harbor for rodents, a breeding place for flies, offensive to the human senses, or a public nuisance."
Mulch, compost and fertilizer storage is acceptable if stored under the listed conditions of section 44.0108 or 44.0203 of the Municipal Code. All other accumulation of these will be considered accumulated waste material and designated a fire hazard.
Weed Abatement and Brush Complaint Program
The program is comprised of addressing complaints to reduce hazards in the wildland urban interface.
Brush Complaint Process
Search for the property address of your complaint in the map below to determine if the property is on City of San Diego owned land.
If the address is on City owned land go to step 2
If the address is on privately owned land go to step 3
Please contact the responsible City department from the list below to submit the complaint.
Parks and Recreation Department/Open Space Division
Public Utilities Department (PUD)
For all other City departments contact the San Diego Fire-Rescue Brush Clerk at 619-533-4444
Note: The Fire-Rescue Department receives a high volume of calls regarding weed abatement and brush. We cannot respond to all calls, but all complaints will be investigated.
Please contact the San Diego Fire-Rescue Brush Clerk at 619-533-4444 to submit your complaint.
For requests related to trees or tree maintenance on City of San Diego streets
For requests related to SDG&E Brush Clearing, Powerlines and Pole Safety
For requests or complaints in the CAL Fire's State Responsibity Area (SRA)
- Contact CAL Fire
For requests related to State Highways, Bridges and Right of Way
- Erosion Control
- Terms & Definitions
- Ready, Set, Go! Wildland Action Guide
- Low-Cost Retrofit List From CAL Fire
- Use of Goats for Brush Management Guide
- Brush Management Policy and Landscape Standards
- Enforcement of Brush Management