California’s seasonally dry Mediterranean climate lends itself to wildfires, and in an effort to better prepare, CAL FIRE is required to classify the severity of fire hazard in areas of California.

The History of Fire Hazard Severity Zone Maps

Fire Hazard Severity Zone maps arose from major destructive fires, prompting the recognition of these areas and strategies to reduce wildfire risks. Legislative response led to mandated mapping across California under the California Public Resources Code 4201-4204, encompassing all State Responsibility Areas (SRA).

What are Fire Hazard Severity Zones?

The State Fire Marshal is mandated to classify lands within State Responsibility Areas into Fire Hazard Severity Zones (FHSZ). Fire Hazard Severity Zones fall into one of the following classifications:

  • Moderate
  • High
  • Very High

The California laws that require Fire Hazard Severity Zones include California Public Resources Code 4201-4204, California Code of Regulations Title 14, Section 1280 and California Government Code 51175-89. 

Explore Fire Hazard Severity Zones

The Fire Hazard Severity Zone (FHSZ) maps are developed using a science-based and field-tested model that assigns a hazard score based on the factors that influence fire likelihood and fire behavior. Many factors are considered such as fire history, existing and potential fuel (natural vegetation), predicted flame length, blowing embers, terrain, and typical fire weather for the area. There are three levels of hazard in the State Responsibility Areas: moderate, high, and very high. 

Fire Hazard Severity Zone maps evaluate “hazard,” not “risk”. They are like flood zone maps, where lands are described in terms of the probability level of a particular area being inundated by floodwaters, and not specifically prescriptive of impacts. “Hazard” is based on the physical conditions that create a likelihood and expected fire behavior over a 30 to 50-year period without considering mitigation measures such as home hardening, recent wildfire, or fuel reduction efforts. “Risk” is the potential damage a fire can do to the area under existing conditions, accounting for any modifications such as fuel reduction projects, defensible space, and ignition resistant building construction. 

Fire Hazard Severity Zones viewer in the State Responsibility Area Effective April 1, 2024

You can enter your address to locate your property on a map showing Fire Hazard Severity Zones. Due to the nature of this content, some users who require Assistive Technology may experience accessibility issues. If you experience any problems while trying to access this content, please call the hotline at (916) 633-7655 or e-mail:

View Map on Cell/Tablet Device


Map Adoption Process
  • Classification of all lands within State Responsibility Areas into fire hazard severity zones is required by law. Therefore, the fire hazard severity zone designations and accompanying maps must follow the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) and be approved by the Office of Administrative Law (OAL). The regulation can be found in Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations (CCR) section 1280.01 and entitled “Fire Hazard Severity Zones in the SRA”.  

Methods for Creating Fire Hazard Severity Zone Maps


Enhance your Property's Fire Safety

It is your responsibility to prepare yourself, your family, and your home for when wildfire strikes. Creating and maintaining defensible space and hardening your home by retrofitting it with ignition-resistant or noncombustible materials to protect against the threat of flying embers, direct flame contact, and radiant heat exposure will dramatically increase your safety and the survivability of your home.

Defensible Space  Home Hardening


  • Vegetation: Fire hazard considers the potential vegetation over a 30- to 50- year time horizon. Vegetation is “fuel” for a wildfire and it may vary over time.
  • Topography: Fire typically burns more quickly and intensely up steep slopes.
  • Climate: Fire moves faster and is more intense under hot, dry, and windy conditions.
  • Crown Fire Potential: Under extreme conditions, fires burn to the top of trees and tall brush.
  • Ember production and movement: Burning embers, known as firebrands, spread fire ahead of the flame front and can ignite buildings up to a mile away from  the main fire.
  • Fire History: Past fire occurrence of an area over several decades

The following information was provided by the California Department of Insurance for information related to insurance in general.

Q&A - Insurance & CAL FIRE Fire Hazard Severity Zone Maps

Q&A - Insurance & CAL FIRE Fire Hazard Severity Zone Maps (Spanish) 

For more information, please call the Department of Insurance hotline at 1-800-927-4357 or visit their website at

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