Defensible Space Work: Blufftop Trail

Updated: Jun 1

As mandated by the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA), SAMLARC will be conducting clearing and replanting work along the Blufftop Trail. This work is required by OCFA in order to align SAMLARC’s landscaping with OCFA’s Defensible Space guidelines. According to the Fire Authority, the guidelines will reduce the risk of a wildfire spreading throughout a community. The guidelines include requirements for creating defensible space within one hundred (100) feet of a structure, such as:

  • Removal of Removal of dead and dying plant material, including dry leaves, twigs, and pine needles.

  • Removal of vegetation found on the OCFA Undesirable Plant List, and replanting using drought-tolerant, fire-resistant plants.

  • Trimming or removal of plants to create the recommended spacing between plants.

Defensible Space modification on the Blufftop Trail will be implemented in the areas owned and maintained by SAMLARC. Work will begin on Monday, September 31, 2019 and is anticipated to conclude by December 14, 2019, pending weather and/or unforeseen project delays. The regularly-scheduled work hours will take place Monday – Friday 7:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Whenever possible, work will not be executed on weekends or holidays.

As professional landscape service providers work in this area, homeowners can expect the following:

  • ​Prior to commencing work, the area will be inspected for wildlife impacts and nests.

  • A crew will work on the East and West sides of the Blufftop Trail using motorized equipment to trim and remove plant material.

  • Groundcover exceeding 24” in height will be trimmed or removed per the OCFA Defensible Space guidelines.

  • Trees that exceed the spacing outlined in the OCFA Defensible Space guidelines will be pruned and/or removed under the supervision of an arborist.

  • Planting will be scheduled immediately following removal.

The mandated work requires the use of heavy machinery that will create substantial amounts of dust and noise. Additionally, the OCFA guidelines require significant modification and/or removal of trees, shrubs, and groundcover in the area, which may impact residences bordering the work area.

Updates on the project and associated closures will be made available at as they develop. For questions or additional information regarding the Blufftop Trail work, please contact George Blair, Assistant General Manager, at 949-709-0014 or

22342A Avenida Empresa, Suite 102A, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688

(949) 709-0010

© 2018 Santa Margarita Landscape and Recreation Corporation