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Santa Barbara Co. firefighters encourage weed-clearing efforts ahead of annual inspections

Posted at 6:55 PM, May 18, 2023

If you are experiencing overgrown weeds at your home, farm, or business, firefighters are reminding you to get your properties cleaned up ahead of the drier summer months.

While the historic rains seen across the Central Coast this winter helped improve California’s drought conditions, those storms have also fueled the growth of weeds and overgrown grass.

“The good rain that we got is a bit of a double-edged sword in the sense that we get the rain that we want, but again, the result is a lot of vegetation, a lot of growth,” said Greg Flores, a supervisor at Farm Supply Santa Maria.

He says earlier this year, waves of customers were coming into his store for storm preparation equipment but now, more people are coming in, searching for tools to clear weeds and fire-proof their homes.

“One of the big boys here is the McLeod Hoe, which the firefighters use up and down the hills clearing areas,” Flores added.

As for weed growth at your home or business, he recommends herbicides.

Meanwhile, Santa Barbara County Fire Captain Scott Safechuck also wants to remind you to begin creating defensible space for fire season.

“In case their car was to catch on fire and/or a fire is moving down the hill into their neighborhood, it creates that buffer zone to help protect your home,” Safechuck told KSBY.
Earlier this week, Santa Barbara County firefighters responded to a brush fire north of Los Alamos off Highway 101, which Safechuck says was likely propelled by tall grass growth in the area.

“We are getting ready to enter into fire season here and transition into high fire season, so we want to remind people to cut their weeds, and our inspections for weed abatement starts June 1,” he added.

Likewise, Caltrans officials say that earlier this month, their crews began mowing and weed-eating efforts along medians, shoulders and off-ramps of Highways 101 and 154.

Both Safechuck and Flores also suggest you cut your weeds or grass before noon when temperatures are cooler, minimizing the chances of sparking a fire using metal tools.

You can find a link to Santa Barbara County’s Ready Set Go Wildfire Action plan here: