Defensible Space and Brush Management in Canyons


From Louis Rodolico and Tom Cartier: Homes located next to canyons are required to have 100 feet of defensible space. This is the area where combustible vegetation has been reduced, but not eliminated, to act as a barrier between the homes and an advancing fire. It is the responsibility of each homeowner to conduct brush management on their property consistent with San Diego Municipal Code (SDMC) Section 142.0412 and with required protections for environmentally sensitive lands.

The Open Space Division of the Park and Recreation Department is responsible for conducting brush management and vegetation thinning on city owned open space adjacent to privately-owned lots which are developed with “previously conforming” (legal) structures built prior to establishment of the city’s first brush management regulations in 1989.

The most recent Open Space Division brush management cleanup in the University City area was completed in May 2020. They aren’t scheduled to be back in our local area until the fall of 2021. Homeowners can conduct brush management or hire a private contractor to do so under certain conditions. Homeowners can also contact the Fire Hazard Advisor to request an inspection.

For more information, including schedules and contact information, can be found on the city’s website Open Space Parks Brush Management Program page at

For more information about the University City Fire Safe Council:

For related fire safety tips, news and event, visit


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