Residents of the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District have began receiving a letter regarding a notice to destroy weeds and abate flammable vegetation and rubbish.
Traditionally, the letter was only sent out to homes that were deemed to be offenders of not abating weeds, however, legal told the District the letter now needs to be sent to all residents within the District as the District will begin taking action by June 1, 2020.
The District explained that for each property that is kept up to code, the letter will not apply to them, but that legal required each property receive a letter.
According to the District, who will be launching an APP for anyone to report someone failing to abate their weeds, the District will have the hazard removed and costs of the abatement will be collected as an assessment with your property taxes and will be on lien on your property until paid.
The District has provided its weed abatement policy on its website while has a list of approved contractors for those who needed services.
According to Fire Marshal Steve Aubert, he said the approved list are those who went through the process; however, residents can use anyone with a business license.
“The letter was a legal requirement for the fire department to send out to all property owners within the District announcing we have a weed abatement standard and they need to eliminate all combustible vegetation and debris from their properties,” explained Aubert. “We are giving residents 30-days’ notice of when abatement needs to be completed.
Aubert stated as of Thursday, no fines have been issued, but residents have until the end of May to comply with the order as on June 1, they will be launching an ECCFPD app where people can submit complaints which will prompt them to begin inspections.
This year, the District is working to be proactive with residents to prevent large vegetation fires as they responded to several large incidents – with the largest being a fire that consumed more than 750-acres on Marsh Creek Road.
Aubert also reminds the public of removing small amounts of vegetation could prevent could prevent larger incidents such as the October incident on Bethel Island where a PG&E transformer blew and caught vegetation below on fire which turned into a Complex Fire with 4 fires in 5 hours.
“We are asking our property owners to help us protect the community. Abate now so you do not end up on our inspection list in June and if you need more information, all resources are available on our website,” said Aubert.
The letter will apply to residents within the District which includes: City of Brentwood, City of Oakley, Town of Discovery Bay, Bethel Island, Byron, Knightsen, and Marsh Creek area.
For more information, visit: https://www.eccfpd.org/
Minimum Abatement Standards
3126.96.36.199, Parcels Five Acres or Less in Size. All weeds must be maintained at a height of no more than 3 inches. Weeds and grasses must be mowed, with material mulched and scattered or raked and bagged, and removed from the parcel, or disked (see Section 3188.8.131.52). All combustible rubbish or debris, including but not limited to: cardboard boxes, pallets, trash, wood rounds/chunks, rubble, etc., must be removed from the parcel. Parcels may require additional abatement during the season due to the regrowth of weeds and other flammable vegetation.
3184.108.40.206, Parcels Greater than Five Acres in Size. All parcels greater than five acres in size must have 30-foot fuelbreaks and 15-foot crossbreaks (see Sections 3220.127.116.11 and 318.104.22.168). Crossbreaks should divide the parcel into approximately 5-acre sections. Fence lines may require hand mowing/weed eating to ensure completion of fuelbreak. When terrain is too steep or rugged for a tractor, a hand mowed fuelbreak may be required. All cut material should be mulched and scattered or raked, bagged and removed from parcel.
322.214.171.124, Fuelbreaks Along Roadways. Fuelbreaks along roadways are required as part of the property line. Road right-of-ways shall be cleared to a minimum of 10 feet horizontally from the edge of driving surface and 13 feet 6 inches vertically.
3126.96.36.199, Active Pastureland. Active pastureland shall be provided with 15-foot wide fuelbreaks and crossbreaks if a sufficient number of animals are present to steadily reduce height of grasses during the summer months to 3 inches or less by the end of August, irrespective of parcel size. If this requirement cannot be met, 30-foot fuelbreaks and crossbreaks shall be required.
3188.8.131.52, Active Cropland. Active cropland shall be provided with 15-foot fuelbreaks or crossbreaks if the crop is to be harvested by mid-June. If there is to be a later harvest, 30-foot fuelbreaks shall be required.
3184.108.40.206, Orchards. Orchards are to be maintained by complete abatement, including grasses under tree branches (see Section 3220.127.116.11). This may require pruning of lower branches to allow equipment access.
318.104.22.168, Tree Litter. Tree litter (eucalyptus leaves and bark, coniferous needles, leaves, fallen branches, etc.) shall be removed from the base of trees, tree stems, and limbs within 10 feet of the ground and maintained throughout the fire season.
322.214.171.124, 30-Foot Fuelbreaks. 30-foot fuelbreaks, where required, shall be provided around all structures, combustible storage, trees, shrubs and brush, along ridgelines, fence lines, ditches, and along the sides of, but not in, creeks. Fuelbreaks and crossbreaks are a continuous strip of disked or dozed ground following as closely as possible to the property line, and along one side of all fence lines, ditches, and on top of all ridgelines. Remove from the property all debris, rubble, junk, piles of dirt, etc., which would obstruct or impede vehicles and/or equipment used for abatement work or fire suppression operations.
3126.96.36.199, Mowed Fuelbreaks. Mowed fuelbreaks shall be 60 feet wide and mowed crossbreaks 30 feet wide due to ability of the remaining surface material to support a fire growth.
3188.8.131.52, Disking Quality. All disking work, including fuelbreaks, shall be completed so that all weeds, grasses, crops and other vegetation or organic material, which could be expected to burn, shall be completely turned under to the point that there is not sufficient exposed fuel to maintain or allow the spread of fire