Wildfire Risk Mitigation Program

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The Carlsbad Fire Department relies on a partnership with the community to keep the city safe from wildfire. The Wildfire Risk Mitigation program takes a proactive approach to mitigate hazards within the City of Carlsbad by conducting annual inspections on privately owned open space, working with homeowners' associations on property maintenance and educating residents about the importance of wildfire prevention.

The Carlsbad Fire Department's Community Risk Reduction Bureau offers in-person and virtual presentations on wildfire preparedness. For more information on this program or to schedule a presentation please email the Wildfire Risk Mitigation Specialist. 

Defensible Space Inspections – Assembly Bill 38 (AB-38)

What is AB-38?

California State Assembly Bill 38 (AB-38) requires the seller of a property located in a 'High' or 'Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone' (VHFSZ) to provide documentation of proof that the property is in compliance with the wildfire protection measures set forth within government codes and/or local vegetation management guidelines. This inspection and documentation requirement applies to homes that are in the H or VHFSZ and built prior to Jan. 2, 2010.

Fire Hazard Severity Zone Map

Type your address below to determine if your property is located in the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone. 

How to request an AB-38 inspection

If your property meets the criteria for an AB-38 inspection: 

Requirements to Comply with AB-38

A Fire Inspector will complete an inspection of the property and provide documentation of compliance based on the City of Carlsbad’s vegetation clearance requirements. 

The following items will be assessed:

  • Cut and remove all dead or dying portions of trees located adjacent to or overhanging any building 
  • Remove that portion of any tree which extends within 10 feet of the outlet of any chimney or stovepipe 
  • Maintain the roof of any structure free of leaves, needles, or other dead vegetative growth 
  • Remove all dead or dying plant material throughout the property 
  • Cut annual weeds and grasses below 4 inches 
  • Establish horizontal and vertical separation between trees and shrubs (refer to City of Carlsbad Landscape Manual, section 5 for requirements)

If your property does not pass inspection: 

You will receive a notice of non-compliance and the inspector will explain why you do not meet these standards. Follow-up action can be either:

  • The seller will perform the necessary vegetation management and have the property inspected again before escrow to receive a documentation of compliance or
  • If the seller has not obtained documentation of compliance, the seller and buyer must enter into a written agreement whereby the buyer agrees to obtain documentation of compliance within one year of the date of close of escrow.

Frequently Asked Questions

How are Fire Hazard Severity zones determined?

The Fire Hazard Severity Zone maps are developed by CAL FIRE using a science-based and field-tested model that assigns a hazard score based on the factors influencing fire likelihood and fire behavior. Many factors are considered, such as fire history, existing and potential fuel (natural vegetation), predicted flame length, blowing embers, terrain, and typical fire weather. The model recognizes the influence of burning embers traveling into urban areas, a significant cause of fire spread.

The property behind my house is an Open Space and a hardline conservation area. Who handles fire hazard inquiries for these areas?

Open spaces and hardline conservation areas must remain natural to protect the plant and animal species in these areas. Fuel modification is prohibited per federal, state, and local laws. Maintaining your defensible space (the area around your home up to the property line) and home hardening can protect your home from the effects of wildfire. We encourage you to review these helpful ember awareness tips.

Can I have a wood-burning fire pit in my backyard?

Wood-burning fire pits and outdoor chimneys are prohibited if your home abuts Open Space. All other locations shall use wood-burning fire pits with caution and fires should remain inside approved containers. NEVER burn during high fire hazard conditions or leave a fire unattended. Keep a garden hose, fire extinguisher, or bucket of water nearby.


Wildfire Home Retrofit Guide
Ready for Wildfire
Defend Your Home Against Wildfires 
Wildfire Safety Tips
Low Cost Ways to Harden Your Home


For questions or inquiries email the City of Carlsbad Wildfire Risk Mitigation Specialist