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It's "weed abatement inspection season" for local firefighters

WEED ABATEMENT .jpg
Posted at 6:54 PM, Mar 24, 2022

It's officially “weed abatement inspection season.” Five Cities Fire Authority has begun its annual inspections to ensure residents in Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach, and Oceano have cleared the weeds from their properties.

Wildfire season is turning into a year-round affair meaning residents also need to maintain their yards all year long.

“So Five Cities Fire, like many fire departments throughout the county of San Luis Obispo and the state of California, annually make sure the properties within our jurisdiction area as fire-safe as possible," said Chief Steve Lieberman, Five Cities Fire Authority.

The Five Cities Fire Authority’s weed abatement program typically begins after the rainy season. While the regulations are specific, one of the things fire officials will be looking for is making sure grass isn’t taller than four inches.

“We’re really going to look for taller grasses that are drying, taller vegetation that might be under the eaves of the home or adjacent to a property line where a fire can take off in lighter, flashier fuels, get up in the trees like this oak tree next to us and create more of a fire danger," said Lieberman.

Five Cities Fire officials are conducting initial inspections now and those not in compliance will receive a “notice to abate fire hazard.”

“Folks are letting grasses, plants grow too high presenting a fire hazard on their property. We want to be sure to notify them and give them chance to abate it," said Lieberman.

One Arroyo Grande resident says he received a letter once.

“One time I got a notice. It was around the side by the fire hydrant we had some weeds that were a little bit high," said William Daniel Quincy Porter.

He hasn’t received a letter since. Porter says he tries to maintain and water his yard but because the city only allows him to water twice a week, he found a different solution to help him maintain his yard.

“We’ve changed our yard to be environmentally safe with cactuses and succulents and we use brown bark," said Porter.

Five Cities Fire officials say those not in compliance will receive a letter and have until May 27 to remove the fire hazards from their property. Those who receive a letter will be re-inspected after the compliance deadline.

All non-compliant properties will be cleared by a contractor, and the property owner will be charged for the costs.