During a wildfire, thousands of embers can rain down on your home and property like hail during a storm. If these embers land in receptive fuels or become lodged in something easily ignited on or near your house, the home may be in jeopardy of burning. This area is commonly referred to as the Home Ignition Zone

Embers coming into contact with flammable material is a major reason why homes are destroyed during a wildfire. Common materials that become embers during wildfire include palm fronds, branches, tree bark, and native vegetation. Depending on fire intensity, wind speed, and the size of materials that are burning, embers can be carried more than a mile ahead of the fire. Consequently, even homes located blocks away from the actual flame front are vulnerable to ignition and complete destruction. By being ember aware and taking action ahead of time, a homeowner can substantially reduce the ember threat. 

Utilizing City staff and certified volunteers, the city offers no-cost, no-obligation Home Wildfire Assessments to assist residents by providing recommendations for hardening their homes against flying embers. 

Visit the online scheduling system to set an appointment for your home assessment. 

Watch a video on how your home could survive a wildfire from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). In the video, Dr. Jack Cohen, Fire Science Researcher with the USDA Forest Service, explains current research about how homes ignite during wildfires, and the actions that homeowners can take to help their home survive the impacts of flames and embers.


Thousands of homes in Malibu and the surrounding areas are in serious danger of destruction by fire because they are in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) where human development intermingles with forests, fields, and other wildlands. However, there are steps homeowners can take to reduce the chance of home ignition: 

  • Prune trees and vegetation away from the house, including vines or ivy 
  • Use fire-resistant building materials, such as brick, cement, masonry, or stucco, whenever possible 
  • Cover rain gutters to prevent the accumulation of pine needles, leaves, and roofing sand runoff 
  • Keep the area around, under, and over propane tanks clear of tree branches and leaves 
  • Embers are one of the greatest threats to your home during a wildfire - seal off eaves or other gaps that might allow embers to get into the interior of your home 
  • Do not use railroad ties for landscaping as they are extremely flammable and prone to re-ignition even after the initial fire 

For more information and helpful tips for steps, you can take to strengthen the fire safety of your home and property, visit DefensibleSpace.org.