To provide extra protection from brush fires, the City Council recently adopted a fire code requiring fire breaks to surround new developments on property that is next to wild grasslands.
The fire breaks help reduce the threat of brush fires, which are easily sparked in Southern California’s dry vegetation.
And in San Juan Capistrano, a city just west of the vast, rolling hills that lead to the Santa Ana Mountains and Cleveland National Forest, that danger is almost always present.
According to the fire code, builders seeking approval for new developments next to grasslands must clear the brush from a wide strip of land surrounding the property and replace it with drought-tolerant, fire-resistant plants. This must include 50 feet of irrigated vegetation, a city report said.