High Fire Zone
Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone
A Brief Explanation
California law requires a seller to disclose to a prospective transferee
of real property if the property is located within a very
high fire hazard severity zone (a "VHFHS Zone")
and, if it is, that the owner of the property is subject to certain
statutory obligations specified in Government Code, Section 51182. Disclosure
must be made if:
a seller (if acting without an
agent) or the seller's agent has "actual knowledge" that
the property is located within a very high fire severity hazard
a map prepared by the Department
of Forestry and Fire Protection (the "DFFP")
that includes the property has been provided to the city
or county, and a
notice hasbeen posted at the offices of the county recorder,
county assessor, and county planning agency that identifies
the location of the map and any information regarding changes
to the map received by the county.
VHFHS Zones are determined by the
Director of the DFFP and are those real properties that are not deemed
to be a state responsibility pursuant to Public Resource Code Sections
4125 et seq. Identification of a VHFHS Zone is to be based on consistent
statewide criteria and on the severity of fire hazard that is expected
to prevail in those areas. VHFHS Zones are based on fuel loading,
slope, fire weather, and other relevant factors.
The DFFP classifies real property in accordance with whether a very high fire
hazard is expected to prevail in those areas so that public officials can identify
measures that will retard the rate of spread and reduce the potential intensity
of uncontrolled fires that threaten to destroy resources, life, or property,
and to require that those measures be implemented.
It is important to note that, according to Government Code Section 51179, a "local
agency" (defined as a city, county, city and county, or district responsible
for fire protection within a VHFHS Zone) may make changes to recommendations
made by the Director of the DFFP pursuant to Government Code Section 51178.
This provision allows a local agency, at its discretion, to make changes to
of VHFHS Zones that may not be reflected on maps released by the DFFP. For
more information on this provision, please contact your local agency.
ANY PERSON WHO OWNS, LEASES, CONTROLS, OPERATES, OR MAINTAINS ANY OCCUPIED
DWELLING OR OCCUPIED STRUCTURE IN, UPON, OR ADJOINING ANY LAND THAT IS COVERED
WITH FLAMMABLE MATERIAL AND IS LOCATED WITHIN A VHFHS ZONE HAS CERTAIN STATUTORY
DUTIES INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO: CREATING FIREBREAKS, CLEARING VEGETATION
MATERIAL, MAINTAINING A SCREEN OVER CHIMNEY OUTLETS, AND OTHER OBLIGATIONS. TRANSFEREE
IS ADVISED TO CONSULT GOVERNMENT CODE, SECTION 51182 ET SEQ., FOR A COMPLETE
LISTING OF ABOVE REFERENCED AND ADDITIONAL DUTIES.
A parcel of property
located outside a VHFHS Zone may still be subject to fires.
The location of
a property with respect to a VHFHS Zone may be based upon
maps approved by the DFFP, county or local fire authorities,
or a combination of maps from these sources.
For more information, please contact
the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (DFFP) in
Sacramento or visit their internet site at http://www.fire.ca.gov/.