Defensible Space Assistance for Seniors & People Living with Disabilities


Under this project low-income residents who are either 65+ or disabled are eligible for free defensible space clearing services within 100' of their homes. Applicants were required to supply proof of residency, medical disability, and income. Income qualifications are based on HUD/HCD criteria. 

Defensible Space slows the spread of wildfire and creates a buffer zone to help firefighters and first responders safely defend homes. Preparing your home for fire season is a year-round effort. Both a fire-resistant structure and defensible space are necessary.  


The Defensible Space Assistance program, also known as the Access & Functional Needs (AFN) Program, was made available to all residents who qualify throughout Nevada County.  


Project Timeline
Defensible Space Assistance Access and Functional Needs

Phase I

In Phase I, Defensible Space treatment was completed for 68 properties who had previously expressed interest and been determined to be eligible. Additionally, community engagement and eligibility verification for an additional 775 homes to receive treatment in Phase II was conducted. 

Phase II

Environmental and Cultural review of 775 eligible properties is taking place in Phase II. Once this review is complete, defensible space implementation will commence on these properties. Each property to receive treatment will receive a pre-inspection to verify the need for treatment as well as a post-inspection to confirm that defensible space compliance has been achieved.  


In total, once Phases I and II are complete, Nevada County will have provided defensible space assistance to nearly 850 residents who met income requirements, and who are elderly and/or who are living with disabilities. The project was designed to meet a need identified by the community which is that not all residents are in a physical or financial position to implement defensible space around their homes. The goal of this project is to increase wildfire resilience for community members who may not otherwise be able to reduce the threat of wildfire within 100 ft of their homes.

Roadmap to Resilience

Increasing defensible space at the parcel level has been identified in the

Project Funders & Partners

County of Nevada received funding for this program through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). HMGP funds are made available by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The Fire Safe Council of Nevada County was contracted as the local partner on this project to implement both Phase I and Phase II. This grant program requires a 25% local match, which is coming from a variety of sources including the United Way of Nevada County, County staff-match, as well as Fire Safe Council match.
 Access and Functional Needs Nevada County

  1. Office of Emergency Services

    Emergency Phone 9-1-1