Paso Robles residents urged to clear weeds before facing fines

Posted at 7:54 PM, May 26, 2018

Some Central Coast weeds are a head high already, and hillsides are starting to turn brown.

Select property owners in Paso Robles have received notices in the mail that it’s time to clear away these weeds and other combustible materials before June 1.

The City of Paso Robles Department of Emergency Services sent out 538 notices to make changes to the property or there’s a penalty.

"Clear the weeds out just to remove fire hazards and basically to protect the structures," said Mike Ament of Paso Robles.

Ament and his father, Bob spent Saturday clearing tall grass on their property along Union Road.

"We received a letter from the fire department requiring to clear the weeds," Ament explained. "I just bought the property probably three months ago and this is the first time we’ve had to do it."

The weeds must be cut down to a maximum of 4 inches. Clearance required is at least 50 feet around oak trees and driveways, 50 feet around property lines and 100 feet around all structures.

"So we’re pretty much clearing the whole lot. All the way across it, 100 feet," Ament explained.

"As we cut these weeds down, it decreases the likelihood of that fire spreading as large and as fast," said Roger Colombo, Acting Battalion Chief for the City of Paso Robles Department of Emergency Services.

2017 was the most destructive fire season for California on record.

"We burnt over 1.3 million acres, lost 10,000 homes in the large fires in Santa Rosa and Santa Barbara and we had 41 civilian deaths and two firefighter deaths," Battalion Chief Colombo said.

But even though this father and son duo had to work on a Saturday…

"It gets pretty dry and so it would create a big fire hazard in the future if it wasn’t cleared," Ament concluded.

On June 1, the fire department will send crews out to inspect every property that received a letter. If they did not comply, the city council will approve to have a weed abatement contractor to come out and remove it on the owner’s dime. An administration fee will also be tacked on.

This year, the weed abatement notices went out at least three weeks earlier in Paso Robles given the prime fire conditions.