DEFENSIBLE SPACE IS 100 FEET?  YES IT IS.  SEE THE LAW PASSED AND
SIGNED BY GOVERNOR SCHWARZENEGGER ON SEP. 23, 2004 - BELOW:
BILL NUMBER: SB 1369        CHAPTERED  09/23/04

CHAPTER  720
FILED WITH SECRETARY OF STATE  SEPTEMBER 23, 2004
APPROVED BY GOVERNOR  SEPTEMBER 23, 2004
PASSED THE SENATE  AUGUST 17, 2004
PASSED THE ASSEMBLY  AUGUST 9, 2004
AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY  JUNE 17, 2004
AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY  JUNE 1, 2004
AMENDED IN SENATE  MAY 12, 2004
AMENDED IN SENATE  MARCH 26, 2004
AMENDED IN SENATE  MARCH 22, 2004

INTRODUCED BY   Senator Kuehl

              FEBRUARY 18, 2004

An act to amend Section 51182 of the Government Code, and to amend
Section 4291 of the Public Resources Code, relating to fire
protection.



LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 1369, Kuehl.  Fire protection.
(1) Existing law requires any person who owns, leases, controls,
operates, or maintains any occupied dwelling or occupied structure
in, upon, or adjoining any mountainous area, forest-covered land,
brush-covered land, grass-covered land, or any land that is covered
with flammable material, which area or land is within a very high
fire hazard severity zone designated by the local agency, as
provided, to, among other things, maintain around and adjacent to the
occupied dwelling or occupied structure additional fire protection
or firebreaks made by removing all brush, flammable vegetation, or
combustible growth that is located from 30 to 100 feet from the
occupied dwelling or occupied structure or to the property line,
whichever is nearer, as may be required by the local agency if the
agency finds that, because of extra hazardous conditions, a firebreak
of only 30 feet around the occupied dwelling or occupied structure
is not sufficient to provide reasonable fire safety.
(2) Existing law requires a person that owns, leases, controls,
operates, or maintains a building or structure, in, upon, or
adjoining any mountainous area, forest-covered lands, brush-covered
lands, grass-covered lands, or any land that is covered with
flammable material, to, among other things, maintain around and
adjacent to the building or structure additional fire protection or a
firebreak, by removing all brush, flammable vegetation, or
combustible growth that is located from 30 to 100 feet from the
building or structure or to the property line, whichever is nearer,
as may be required by the Director of Forestry and Fire Protection,
if he or she finds that, because of extra hazardous conditions, a
firebreak of only 30 feet around the building or structure is not
sufficient to provide reasonable fire safety.  For purposes of these
requirements, "person" is defined as any agency of the state, county,
city, district, or other local public agency, and any individual,
firm, association, partnership, business trust, corporation, limited
liability company, or company.
(3) This bill would define "person" for purposes of (2) above to
instead mean a private individual, organization, partnership, limited
liability company, or corporation.
This bill would revise (1) and (2), above, to require persons
subject to (1) or (2) to remove all brush, flammable vegetation, or
combustible growth that is located within 100 feet from the occupied
dwelling or occupied structure, or building or structure, as
applicable, or to the property line, or at a greater distance if
required by state law, or local ordinance, rule, or regulation.
The bill would require an owner, prior to constructing a new
dwelling or structure that will be occupied, or reconstructing an
occupied dwelling or occupied structure damaged by fire in a very
high fire hazard severity zone (see (1) above), the construction or
rebuilding of which requires a building permit, to obtain from the
local building official, a specified certification regarding
compliance with state and local building standards, and to provide a
copy of the certification, upon request, to the insurer providing
course of construction insurance coverage.  The bill would require
the owner, upon completion of construction or rebuilding, to obtain
from the local building official, a copy of the final inspection
report, as specified, and to provide a copy of the report, upon
request, to the property insurance carrier that insures the dwelling
or structure.  The bill would impose similar requirements upon an
owner, prior to constructing a new building or structure or
rebuilding a building or structure damaged by fire in one of the
areas specified in (2) above.  Because the bill would expand the
definition of a crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local
program.
(4) Existing law provides that a local agency having jurisdiction
of property violating the conditions described in (2) above is
required to notify the owner of the property to correct the
conditions.  If the owner fails to correct the conditions, the local
agency is authorized to cause the corrections to be made, and the
expenses incurred become a lien on the property when recorded, as
specified, in the county recorder's office in the county in which the
real property is located.
The bill would authorize the Director of Forestry and Fire
Protection to authorize the removal of vegetation not consistent with
these and related requirements.  The bill would authorize a lien
upon the building, structure, or grounds for the expense of the
removal of that vegetation, as specified.
(5) The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse
local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the
state.  Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that
reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this
act for a specified reason.


THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:


SECTION 1.  Section 51182 of the Government Code is amended to
read:
51182.  (a) Any person who owns, leases, controls, operates, or
maintains any occupied dwelling or occupied structure in, upon, or
adjoining any mountainous area, forest-covered land, brush-covered
land, grass-covered land, or any land that is covered with flammable
material, which area or land is within a very high fire hazard
severity zone designated by the local agency pursuant to Section
51179, shall at all times do all of the following:
(1) Maintain around and adjacent to the occupied dwelling or
occupied structure a firebreak made by removing and clearing away,
for a distance of not less than 30 feet on each side thereof or to
the property line, whichever is nearer, all flammable vegetation or
other combustible growth.  This paragraph does not apply to single
specimens of trees, ornamental shrubbery, or similar plants that are
used as ground cover, if they do not form a means of rapidly
transmitting fire from the native growth to any dwelling or
structure.
(2) Maintain around and adjacent to the occupied dwelling or
occupied structure additional fire protection or firebreaks made by
removing all brush, flammable vegetation, or combustible growth that
is located within 100 feet from the occupied dwelling or occupied
structure or to the property line, or at a greater distance if
required by state law, or local ordinance, rule, or regulation.  This
section does not prevent an insurance company that insures an
occupied dwelling or occupied structure from requiring the owner of
the dwelling or structure to maintain a firebreak of more than 100
feet around the dwelling or structure if a hazardous condition
warrants such a firebreak of a greater distance.  Grass and other
vegetation located more than 30 feet from the dwelling or structure
and less than 18 inches in height above the ground may be maintained
where necessary to stabilize the soil and prevent erosion.
(3) Remove that portion of any tree that extends within 10 feet of
the outlet of any chimney or stovepipe.
(4) Maintain any tree adjacent to or overhanging any building free
of dead or dying wood.
(5) Maintain the roof of any structure free of leaves, needles, or
other dead vegetative growth.
(6) Provide and maintain at all times a screen over the outlet of
every chimney or stovepipe that is attached to any fireplace, stove,
or other device that burns any solid or liquid fuel.  The screen
shall be constructed and installed in accordance with the California
Building Standards Code.
(7) Prior to constructing a new dwelling or structure that will be
occupied or rebuilding an occupied dwelling or occupied structure
damaged by a fire in such zone, the construction or rebuilding of
which requires a building permit, the owner shall obtain a
certification from the local building official that the dwelling or
structure, as proposed to be built, complies with all applicable
state and local building standards, including those described in
subdivision (b) of Section 51189, and shall provide a copy of the
certification, upon request, to the insurer providing course of
construction insurance coverage for the building or structure.  Upon
completion of the construction or rebuilding, the owner shall obtain
from the local building official, a copy of the final inspection
report that demonstrates that the dwelling or structure was
constructed in compliance with all applicable state and local
building standards, including those described in subdivision (b) of
Section 51189, and shall provide a copy of the report, upon request,
to the property insurance carrier that insures the dwelling or
structure.
(b) A person is not required under this section to maintain any
clearing on any land if that person does not have the legal right to
maintain the clearing, nor is any person required to enter upon or to
damage property that is owned by any other person without the
consent of the owner of the property.
SEC. 2.  Section 4291 of the Public Resources Code is amended to
read:
4291.  A person that owns, leases, controls, operates, or
maintains a building or structure in, upon, or adjoining any
mountainous area, forest-covered lands, brush-covered lands,
grass-covered lands, or any land that is covered with flammable
material, shall at all times do all of the following:
(a) Maintain around and adjacent to the building or structure a
firebreak made by removing and clearing away, for a distance of not
less than 30 feet on each side of the building or structure or to the
property line, whichever is nearer, all flammable vegetation or
other combustible growth.  This subdivision does not apply to single
specimens of trees, ornamental shrubbery, or similar plants that are
used as ground cover, if they do not form a means of rapidly
transmitting fire from the native growth to any building or
structure.
(b) Maintain around and adjacent to the building or structure
additional fire protection or firebreak made by removing all brush,
flammable vegetation, or combustible growth that is located within
100 feet from the building or structure or to the property line or at
a greater distance if required by state law, or local ordinance,
rule, or regulation.  This section does not prevent an insurance
company that insures a building or structure from requiring the owner
of the building or structure to maintain a firebreak of more than
100 feet around the building or structure.  Grass and other
vegetation located more than 30 feet from the building or structure
and less than 18 inches in height above the ground may be maintained
where necessary to stabilize the soil and prevent erosion.
(c) Remove that portion of any tree that extends within 10 feet of
the outlet of a chimney or stovepipe.
(d) Maintain any tree adjacent to or overhanging a building free
of dead or dying wood.
(e) Maintain the roof of a structure free of leaves, needles, or
other dead vegetative growth.
(f) Provide and maintain at all times a screen over the outlet of
every chimney or stovepipe that is attached to a fireplace, stove, or
other device that burns any solid or liquid fuel.  The screen shall
be constructed of nonflammable material with openings of not more
than one-half inch in size.
(g) Prior to constructing a new building or structure or
rebuilding a building or structure damaged by a fire in such an area,
the construction or rebuilding of which requires a building permit,
the owner shall obtain a certification from the local building
official that the dwelling or structure, as proposed to be built,
complies with all applicable state and local building standards,
including those described in subdivision (b) of Section 51189 of the
Government Code, and shall provide a copy of the certification, upon
request, to the insurer providing course of construction insurance
coverage for the building or structure.  Upon completion of the
construction or rebuilding, the owner shall obtain from the local
building official, a copy of the final inspection report that
demonstrates that the dwelling or structure was constructed in
compliance with all applicable state and local building standards,
including those described in subdivision (b) of Section 51189 of the
Government Code, and shall provide a copy of the report, upon
request, to the property insurance carrier that insures the dwelling
or structure.
(h) Except as provided in Section 18930 of the Health and Safety
Code, the director may adopt regulations exempting structures with
exteriors constructed entirely of nonflammable materials, or
conditioned upon the contents and composition of same, he or she may
vary the requirements respecting the removing or clearing away of
flammable vegetation or other combustible growth with respect to the
area surrounding those structures.
No exemption or variance shall apply unless and until the occupant
thereof, or if there is not an occupant, the owner thereof, files
with the department, in a form as the director shall prescribe, a
written consent to the inspection of the interior and contents of the
structure to ascertain whether this section and the regulations
adopted under this section are complied with at all times.
(i) The director may authorize the removal of vegetation that is
not consistent with the standards of this section.  The director may
prescribe a procedure for the removal of that vegetation and make the
expense a lien upon the building, structure, or grounds, in the same
manner that is applicable to a legislative body under Section 51186
of the Government Code.
(j) As used in this section, "person" means a private individual,
organization, partnership, limited liability company, or corporation.

SEC. 3.  No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to
Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because
the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school
district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or
infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty
for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the
Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the
meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California
Constitution.