What is the Home Ignition Zone

The Home Ignition Zone (HIZ) is the area within 30 metres of your home and structures. It is made up of three priority areas: The Immediate Zone, Intermediate Zone, and Extended Zone.

The HIZ shows how you can minimize your home and property’s vulnerability to wildland fire by addressing threats in each of the three priority zones, starting with the most vulnerable area, the Immediate Zone, and working your way outward. Learn more about the HIZ and how you can reduce your risk, in our FireSmart Begins at Home Guide.

The HIZ has a new look!

New research and post-wildfire studies have prompted FireSmart Canada to update its HIZ to better help residents reduce risk to their homes and properties. This version emphasizes the importance of reducing or removing the potential of structure ignition from an approaching wildland fire in the Immediate Zone, the most vulnerable area.

Another notable difference in the new HIZ, is the removal of Zone 3 (30-100m). As radiant heat is unlikely to ignite a structure at 30m and beyond, the HIZ focuses on reducing the opportunity for the spread of flames, and removal of points where embers can gather and ignite objects or buildings.

The HIZ image appears in several places on our website and in other materials. Making the required updates will likely take some time. We ask that you bear with us during this process.

The home ignition zone is made up of three areas.

Immediate Zone: 0 – 1.5 metres

The Immediate Zone is a non-combustible area that starts at the house and extends to 1.5m perimeter around the home and attached structures, including decks. Reduce the chance of wind-blown embers igniting your home by starting with these proactive steps:

  • Choose non-combustible building materials when constructing or renovating your home.
  • Clear vegetation and combustible material down to mineral soil and cover with non-combustible materials like gravel, brick, or concrete.
  • Avoid planting woody shrubs or trees. If any are present, prune and maintain them regularly
Intermediate Zone: 1.5 – 10 metres

Elements in the Intermediate Zone are managed so they don’t transmit fire to your home. Here are a few actions you can take to reduce your home’s vulnerability:

  • Plant fire-resistant vegetation and select non-combustible landscaping materials.
  • Avoid incorporating any woody debris, including mulch.
  • Keep combustible items like firewood piles, construction materials, patio furniture, tools, and decorative pieces out of this zone.
  • Move trailers, recreational vehicles, storage sheds, and other combustible structures into the Extended Zone. If that’s not possible, store firewood inside your mitigated garage, shed, or other ember resistant structures.
  • Create a non-combustible ground cover, like a gravel pad, underneath and 1.5 metres around trailers, recreational vehicles, and sheds.
Extended Zone: 10 – 30 metres

The goal in the Extended Zone is not to eliminate fire, but to reduce its intensity. If your property extends into this zone, a few important steps you can take include:

  • Selectively remove evergreen trees to create at least 3 metres of horizontal space between the single or grouped tree crowns.
  • Remove all branches to a height of 2 metres from the ground.
  • Regularly clean up accumulations of fallen branches, dry grass, and needles to eliminate potential surface fuels.
  • Continue to apply these principles if your property extends beyond 30 m. Work with your neighbours in overlapping zones and seek guidance from a forest professional if affected by other conditions like steep slopes.

Learn more

You can find more information about specific actions to take in each home ignition zone in the FireSmart Begins at Home Guide.

FireSmart Begins at Home Guide