Wildland Fire Prevention

There are 5 steps to wildfire safety:

Wildland fires burn rapidly and winds often make them unpredictable. So, be very cautious when attempting to control a brush fire with a garden hose. Call the fire department for assistance every time. Dial 9-1-1.

  1. Report brush fires immediately by dialing 911. Never assume someone else will make the call.
  2. Back your car into the garage or park it in an open space facing the direction of escape. Shut doors and roll up windows. Leave keys in ignition. Close garage doors/windows. Disconnect automatic garage openers.
  3. Confine pets to one room. Make plans to care for pets in case you must evacuate.
  4. Follow instructions of emergency personnel. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
  5. Wear protective clothing, sturdy shoes, cotton or wool clothing, long pants, long sleeved shirt, gloves and handkerchiefs to protect your face.
  6. Lock your home. Tell someone when you left and where you're going. Choose a route away from fire hazard. Watch for changes in fire's speed and direction.   

Scottsdale Fire Officials are anticipating a significant potential for wildland fires which are fed by dried grasses and flash fuels. Brush fire season typically starts in mid-April and continues through September. Start taking steps today to protect your property and family during wildfire season! Download printable brochure. (PDF)

Defensible Space Protects Your Home

Homeowners and contractors should create a well-maintained, live vegetation zone to prevent damage to structures in case of wildland fires. This "defensible space" acts as a fire break, and should contain only small brush and ground cover to prevent a continuous path of flammable materials leading to inhabited structures.

Specific Preventative Actions Recommended

  1. Maintain a 15-foot zone around your home; remove perennial grasses and thin overgrown bushes; remove dead branches or branches touching the ground.
  2. Remove dead vegetation that is down on the ground from an additional 15-foot zone for maximum protection (30 feet total).
Defensible Space Action 1 - trim live vegetation Action 2 - remove dead & down vegetation
Homes 15 feet 15 feet
Walls 5 feet 15 feet
Roads 10 feet 20 feet
Construction  Building envelope  30 feet outside building envelope

Please Note: The vegetation maintenance areas may be increased by the Fire Marshal up to 100-feet, based upon terrain, to provide an adequate defensible space. This would typically occur in hillside areas where fires can quickly spread upwards in addition to outwards and where the deployment of fire trucks and equipment might be difficult.

Be vigilant! Keep construction sites safe and free of combustible materials.
  • Limit welding & cutting to cleared areas.
  • Remove all flammable products & flash fuels.
  • Maintain the building envelope as a "clear zone" and thin an additional 30-feet to provide adequate defensible space.
  • Do not stack wood or other flammable construction materials in defensible space.

Contractors found negligent in maintaining a safe building environment are responsible for damages via fines and/or criminal citations for the cost of providing fire protection services and for property loss.


  • Consistently monitor defensible space for maximum fire prevention.
  • Remove flash fuels such as dead grass (Do NOT remove live native plants from NAOS).
  • Trim trees within the 30-ft defensible space so the canopy is not touching the ground; remove any dead branches or leaves.
  • Trim grass and foliage around trees.
  • Keep gutters, eaves and roof clear of leaves and other debris.
  • Do not stack wood or other flammable materials within the 30-ft defensible space.
  • Keep a rolled up garden hose with a nozzle attached to an outside hose valve connection.
  • No smoking allowed in NAOS.

Scottsdale has created a brochure that outlines the top eight Invasive Weeds  (PDF) identified to exist in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. For a hard copy, please call the Scottsdale Fire Department at 480-312-8000.

Additional tips (for non-NAOS areas):

  • Deposit all cigarette butts in proper containers. Never throw a cigarette butt onto the ground.
  • When camping, follow local agency rules for campfires. Do not build a fire without making sure open fires are allowed, and always follow fire safety information.
  • Add a spark arrester to off-road vehicles and other small internal combustion engines such as generators.

Tips for Homeowners Living in the High Sonoran Desert

Residents are urged to contact Solid Waste at 480-312-5600 for more information or before any large clean-up or landscaping projects.

The City of Scottsdale will remove brush trimmings from residential properties for small clean-up projects on developed land only. Vegetation from washes, community common areas, undeveloped lots, and large projects is not the responsibility of City crews.

Please note, there are specific guidelines for Desert Broom and Salt Cedar removal (PDF). 

Scottsdale has created a brochure that outlines the top eight Invasive Weeds  (PDF) identified to exist in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. For a hard copy, please call the Scottsdale Fire Department at 480-312-8000.

Need help? Follow the Home Safety Checklist (PDF) or call to schedule a free safety inspection. Scottsdale’s firefighters will inspect your property and advise you of ways to protect your home and property from a brush fire. Fire department representatives can also provide information about low and high risk vegetation.

You can schedule a free brush safety inspection or report an unsafe construction site, by calling the Scottsdale Fire Department at 480-312-1855.


Contact Information

City of Scottsdale - Fire Department

Witzeman Public Safety Building
8401 E. Indian School Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
General Information: 480-312-8000
Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-Emergency: 480-312-8911
Email: fire@ScottsdaleAZ.gov
Request a fire report or records request

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