Defensible Space Fuels Reduction Pilot Program

What is the Defensible Space Fuels Reduction Pilot Program?

On July 12, 2022, the Placer County Board of Supervisors approved the establishment of a Defensible Space Fuels Reduction Pilot Program and committed $300,000 in funding for the 2-year pilot period.  The goal of the program is to assist vulnerable residents in creating defensible space around their homes and properties in order to reduce the risk of loss of life and property in the event of a wildfire. The program will provide up to $5,000 per property to property owners in unincorporated Placer County who have very low income and are elderly or disabled to hire a contractor to assist in bringing the property into compliance with the County’s Hazardous Vegetation Ordinance requirements.  

Who is eligible?

To qualify for this program, you must:

  • Own a home or property in unincorporated Placer County (not in city limits)
  • Have annual income that qualifies you as at or below Low Income (see below table)
  • Be age 65 or older OR be permanently disabled 

                              Persons in Household

Annual Income









Acutely Low









Extremely Low









Very Low Income









Low Income









Median Income









Moderate Income









California Department of Housing and Community Development's State and Federal Income Limits, Annual Gross Income Levels Based on Household Size for Placer County


How do I apply?

Any County resident who is concerned that their property or a neighbor’s property does not comply with the County’s Hazardous Vegetation Ordinance requirements can contact Placer County Code Compliance Officer Estelle Maxwell at 530-745-3062 or via email at [email protected] and request the property be inspected. 

An application for this program will be provided to the property owner after the property had been inspected by a County Defensible Space Inspector and is found to be out of compliance. 

Applications will not be publicly available and will only be provided through the defensible space inspection.

How do I prove my income, age, and/or disability?

Income will be verified through a copy of your W2 or tax return for the prior year.  The Defensible Space Inspector will verify your age by checking your identification (driver’s license or ID) or birth certificate and/or will verify your disability status by confirming you have a disabled California license plate on your vehicle or through other disability documentation. 

I’ve applied and I’m eligible for the program – what happens next?

You will be provided with a list of contractors.  You will select and contact a contractor off the list, let them know you are participating in this program, and schedule an appointment.  The contractor will work alongside the Defensible Space Inspector to develop a reasonable estimate and to ensure that the work is done as required to bring the property into compliance.  Once the work is complete, the Defensible Space Inspector will sign off on the invoice and the County will pay the contractor up to $5,000.  

What if $5,000 is not enough to bring my property into compliance?

Property owners will be responsible for clearing any remaining fuels to bring the property into compliance with the Hazardous Vegetation Ordinance requirements if the maximum amount provided under this program does not allow for the work to be completed. The Defensible Space Inspector will work with you to let you know what your options are if this is the case.

It should be noted that it is possible that some cost savings can be realized if the work done on your property produces a large amount of brush or tree branches by utilizing the Residential Chipper Program instead of having the contractor haul away that debris.

I have other questions – Who should I contact?

For questions about your property’s defensible space or to request an inspection, please contact Placer County Code Compliance Officer Estelle Maxwell at 530-745-3062 or via email at [email protected].

For all other questions, contact Melissa O’Neal at the Placer County Executive Office at 530-889-4030 or via email at [email protected].