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Home Ignition Zone Evaluation Program

The RCD Helps You Prepare For Wildfires With Our Home Evaluation Program

The RCD is expanding the Home Ignition Zone Evaluation Program (HIZEP) first created by our partners at the North Topanga Canyon Fire Safe Council.  This program, which will be provided free of charge to those who sign up early, is available to homeowners in Los Angeles County and Simi Hills. You can download our information brochure by clicking here

What is a Home Ignition Zone Evaluation?

A home ignition zone evaluation is a review of the vulnerability of your house and landscape to wildfire and ember-ignition. During this assessment, an evaluator will review defensible space and home hardening principles and make specific recommendations based on your property.

Evaluations are performed by trained volunteers and RCD staff and take about 45 to 60 minutes to complete. A summary of all the recommendations along with additional resources and materials is provided at the end of the evaluation. The homeowner is under no obligation to complete any of the recommendations, though we will also follow up to find out if the homeowner decided to do any of the improvements, and if not, what barriers to completion the homeowner encountered. We will use this information to determine what incentive programs might be developed to help homeowners to complete more of these Ignition-resisting improvements. 

How much does a home evaluation cost?

This service is provided free of charge until the grant funds are exhausted, and afterward as a fee service. So get in touch right away to reserve your spot.

Please consider donating to help support our mission to develop resilient communities in the Santa Monica Mountains. Less than 35% of our annual operating budget comes from County property tax revenue. The remainder of our budget comes from competitively-sought grants like the one funding the HIZEP, as well as from contracts and donations.

How can I make an appointment?

We will resume Home Ignition Zone Evaluations in early 2022. To stay in touch with us and get the latest updates from your RCD, subscribe to our newsletter using the form below. To learn more about home hardening and fire-wise landscaping, visit defensiblespace.org, our one stop platform for best practices to reduce the risk of wildfire.

Damage after the Woolsey Fire, California. Taken on November 17,2018. (image by Peter Buschmann, Forest Service USDA, Public domain)

In This Section…


Why is ember protection important for wildfire preparedness?

The Los Angeles County Fire Department estimates that embers caused the ignition of over 50% of the homes that burned in recent wildfires. Carried by strong winds, embers fly through the air and rain down on vulnerable homes, often miles ahead of flames. Once homes ignite, they create intense heat and more embers that can ignite other nearby homes. This turns what would be a fast-moving vegetation fire into a multi-structure inferno, putting entire neighborhoods at risk — and making it exceedingly dangerous for vital first-responders to enter the area and protect the remaining homes. 

Homes are generally not ignited by the fire front but more often by wind-driven embers landing on combustible fuels in or on the house.” 

Jon Keeley

Senior Scientist, USGS

By taking action long before a wildfire threatens, homeowners can make their structures safer from embers by looking from the “house out” and addressing vulnerabilities.

Who are the evaluators?

Evaluators include trained local community members and RCD staff members (e.g. Community Resilience Coordinator). The RCD organizes training sessions in partnership with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to train volunteers on Assessing Structure Ignition potential from Wildfire.  If you are interested in becoming a volunteer HIZ evaluator, let us know and we will get you on the list for future trainings.  These trainings will be free of charge, though a commitment to participate in a minimum number of HIZ evaluations will be required. 

To learn more about home evaluations or training to become a HIZ Evaluator, contact our Community Resilience Coordinator Antoine Kunsch.

Where can I learn more about sustainable defensible space and home hardening?

The RCD — in collaboration with local and state organizations — created defensiblespace.org. Consult this website for more information. Good landscaping choices in the defensible space zone provide the greatest opportunity for home ignition resistance AND improved habitat conservation with its associated ecosystem benefits — the two goals are not mutually exclusive. 

Protect Your Home From Wildfire

Check out this recording from our latest wildfire resilience webinar and learn how to increase the resilience of your home and landscape.

Learn how to protect your home from wildfire with home hardening and fire-wise landscaping that supports native ecosystems of Southern California.