New Guidelines for Landscapers/Gardeners under Stay at Home Order


The purpose of this memo is to clarify how the Tiburon Fire Protection District shall determine which proposed work meets the intent of the Governor’s Executive Order N-33-20 “Shelter in Place” for all Californians while sequestered. The intent is to comply with Defensible Space and/or Fuels Reduction efforts against large wildfire and catastrophic effects of vegetation conflagration while limiting the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

To determine what is “essential” to maintaining the safety of residences, these workers are identified on Page 3 of the Essential Critical Workers list published by the State of California found at the website:  Fire Mitigation activities are categorized as essential.

The Tiburon Fire Protection District shall go a step further to clarify how a worker in this category shall provide protection to a residence in the form of Vegetation Management through Defensible Space practices and Fuels Reduction efforts. The maintenance of a property’s exterior upkeep is vastly different to the definition of creating and maintaining Defensible Space against wildfire. Defensible Space is the buffer created between a residential structure and the grasses, bushes, shrubs, trees and any unmaintained areas around the home. Routine upkeep or maintenance assists in the preservation of defensible space whereby the work is cosmetic and pleasing to the property owner, but fails to truly create distance and separation between vegetation from combustible structures.

All property owners are encouraged to perform their own defensible space efforts during the Shelter in Place (SIP), but it is recognized that specific labor shall be utilized to perform defensible space on a residential property. The key is to maintain proper social distancing to protect the resident who is in SIP, as well as social distancing of the laborers performing the work from one another to be in compliance with the Governor’s Order. Therefore, the Tiburon Fire Protection District shall require all contracted work for defensible space to be submitted in writing via email to the District for evaluation prior to the work being done during the Shelter in Place. All work plans shall be submitted to Deputy Fire Marshal Mike Lantier at  Approval, or conditions requiring correction, will be emailed in return within 2 business days. Failure to obtain a Fire District Approval shall result in Tiburon or Belvedere Police or Marin County Sheriff action to prohibit all contracted work until approved by the Tiburon Fire Protection District has been granted within its jurisdiction. All approved work plans shall be forwarded to all PD sources for official notification of work approved under this Policy.

Under the following guidelines, Defensible Space/Fuels Reduction work that is contracted shall be defined in Tiers of Priority. 

Tier 1

This is the highest priority tier for all properties/parcels in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) designated areas of the Tiburon Fire Protection District and are required by the California Fire Code to maintain defensible space per Ordinance #129 found at: Ordinance _129 signed 11-13-19

Tier 2

This tier is for Non-WUI parcels that have an active Vegetation Management Plan on file with TFPD and the work entailed is pursuant to the VMP OR have demonstrated sufficiently in a Scope of Work application that the contracted work is solely for the creation and/or maintenance of Defensible Space on their property.

Tier 3

This is the lowest tier for consideration as it relates to a Scope of Work application that is solely intended to prepare the property for a Tiburon Fire District, Town of Tiburon and City of Belvedere Joint Chipper Day/Vegetation Removal event on May 9th at Blackie’s Pasture from 9AM-4PM. Tier 3 applications shall be considered for the June 13th event should SIP still be in effect through the month of May.

Scope of Work Application

Vegetative fuel, whether green or dry, can present a hazard under the right conditions and with the perfect alignment of the fire triangle’s 3 required components: heat, fuel and oxygen. Given this process, consideration of what is a fire hazard is solely up to the Fire Official and standard Defensible Space practices found at Fire Safe Marin’s website:

Scope of Work Applications for Tier 1 and Tier 2 projects shall consist of the application, a Google Earth or Marin Map overview of the property for reference using satellite view, identified vegetation selected for removal/trimming with accompanying pictures for depth and recognition and a timeline for the work involved to the best estimate of days to be worked.

Tier 3 projects shall complete an application and indicate the approximate amount, in cubic yards (i.e. a pickup truck filled with cut vegetation is one cubic yard, more or less), of expected material to be transported to Blackie’s Pasture for disposal. Please understand that all loads must be covered per California Vehicle Code Section 23115 upon delivery to Blackie’s Pasture.

2020 TFFD Defensible Space Scope of Work SIP application