Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones (VHFHSZ)
California Government Code Section 51178 requires the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) to identify and map very high fire hazard areas statewide, referred to as “Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones”. On October 28, 2011, the City received from the director of CAL FIRE a recommendation for a VHFHSZ (2011) in the City of Laguna Niguel. As required by state law, the City has made this information available for public review. Please click on the following link to view the map: Laguna Niguel Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones Map. A copy of the map may also be obtained in the Community Development Department at City Hall, 30111 Crown Valley Parkway, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677.
As of February 28, 2012, the City Council and City Staff are still reviewing the proposed VHFHSZ and have not adopted the recommended map.
Properties located within the VHFHSZ are required to comply with the following items to reduce the chance of building loss or damage from a wildfire:
◦Providing defensible space clearance around buildings. See Orange County Fire Authority's Vegetation Management Maintenance Guidelines for Property Owners.
◦New buildings are to be constructed using fire resistive features, such as those identified in Chapter 7A of the California Building Code. See Building Handout 131-VHFHSZ.
◦Property owners must disclose that property is located within a VHFHSZ to prospective buyers.
The California State Legislature has determined that the prevention of fires is not a municipal affair, but is, instead, a matter of statewide concern. According to CAL FIRE, the designation of these zones are based on current scientific methods which assessed vegetation ("fuel"), topography, fire history and weather patterns. Fire severity factors such as the impact of flames, heat and flying embers were also taken into consideration.
For more information, please contact the Community Development Department at (949) 362-4360, or CommDev@cityoflagunaniguel.org.