Saratoga is one of the 6 communities in Santa Clara County with zones designated as Very High Fire Hazard Severity by CAL FIRE. This page describes the City's efforts to plan for and prevent wildfires.
Fire Hazard Zone Requirements
The Very High Fire Hazard Severity zones, along with other parts of Saratoga that the City has identified as being at risk for wildfire, form the City of Saratoga Wildland Urban Interface area.
The City has adopted special fire protection measures and planning requirements for these areas of the City, in accordance with recommendations from CAL FIRE. this includes requirements that must be met before development occurs and ongoing property maintenance requirements, such as reducing flammable vegetation and maintaining defensible space. For additional information about property maintenance requirements, see the information below under Weed and Brush Abatement.
Given the potential for wildfire in Saratoga, the City has worked to identify fire-related hazards in the City of Saratoga and measures to mitigate these potential risks.
- City of Saratoga Safety Element (adopted February 20, 2013)
The Safety Element helps guide development in the City of Saratoga in a manner that effectively addresses potential hazards, including wildfire, and includes strategies for reducing risks associated with specific hazards.
- Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) (adopted August 1, 2018)
The CWPP identifies specific wildfire risks in the City of Saratoga and strategies for minimizing those dangers. Since Saratoga is served by two separate fire protection agencies that operate independently of the City, the CWPP calls for a collaborative that includes Santa Clara County Fire, the Saratoga Fire Protection District, other local fire agencies, the City, the County and other local government organizations, and local non-profit partners.
Weed and Brush Abatement
In Saratoga, there are two programs that help protect Saratoga from wildfire by reducing potential fuel, like weeds and brush. These programs are the Weed Abatement Program managed by the City of Saratoga with support from the County of Santa Clara and the Brush Abatement Program (Wildland Urban Interface Preparedness Inspection) managed by the Santa Clara County Fire Department.
- Weed Abatement Program: All properties in the City of Saratoga are subject to Weed Abatement requirements.
- Brush Abatement Program (Wildland Urban Interface Preparedness Inspection): All properties in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) area of the City are subject to Brush Abatement requirements.
Properties throughout the City are inspected annually for compliance with both the Weed Abatement Program and Brush Abatement Program. Properties that fail to meet program requirements may be subject to fees, including the actual cost of removing flammable vegetation, and City Code violations.
Santa Clara County FireSafe Council
In 2013, the City and the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council (SCFSC) partnered to educate residents about wildfire prevention, as well as provide free resources, such as chipping of brush and limbs cleared from defensible space for residents living in the Wildland Urban Interface area. The Santa Clara County FireSafe Council is a non-profit organization composed of individuals and public and private sector organizations that share a common, vested interest in preventing and reducing losses from wildfires.