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Posted on: May 8, 2020

2020 Weed Abatement Season

Open Field of High Weeds

As fire season approaches, the City of Santa Rosa Fire Department asks that property owners do their part to help keep Santa Rosa fire safe by abating weeds and grasses on their property throughout the entire fire season.

The City of Santa Rosa has a Weed Abatement Ordinance that requires certain property owners to cut weeds and grasses that are over four inches in height once fire season is declared and maintain that level of compliance throughout the duration of the season. The Fire Department will inspect properties that the Ordinance applies to throughout the season to ensure they are in compliance.

Which Properties Must Comply with the Ordinance?
The Ordinance requires a property owner comply with the Weed Abatement Ordinance if any of the following conditions are applicable to their lot:

  • The property is located within the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) – View WUI map
  • The property is a vacant lot including those in the fire rebuild area
  • The property contains more than a half-acre of unimproved land.

When Will Fire Season Property Inspections Begin
Fire Department staff will begin conducting inspections of parcels by June 1, though inspections could happen sooner if the start of fire season is announced prior to June 1. Weeds and vegetation will likely grow back throughout the late spring and summer months, and property owners will need to ensure their parcels remain in compliance until the fire season is declared over.

Safety Reminders for Conducting Weed Abatement Work
The weather is warming up right now, creating drier conditions and, therefore, property owners are encouraged to adhere to the following guidance for conducting weed abatement in a safe and effective manner:

  • Use trimming, mowing and power equipment before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m.
  • Never use a lawn mower in dry vegetation. Use a weed trimmer to cut down dry weeds and grass.
  • Remove rocks in the area before operating any equipment. A rock in grass or weeds can start a fire when struck by a metal blade.
  • Keep a cell phone nearby and call 911 immediately in case of a fire. Never put oneself in harm’s way by extinguishing an advancing fire.

Owners of properties that do not take action to comply with the Ordinance may be subject to a violation and abated by City of Santa Rosa Fire Department. The costs will be the responsibility of the property owner (City Council Resolution No. RES-2017-028.)

Weed Abatement Schedule for City-Maintained Properties
The abatement of weeds on City-maintained property, including parks and open space within the WUI, has started and will continue into the fire season. The schedule prioritizes addressing areas of high-fire threat first. Therefore, you may observe unsightly weeds and high grass in lower priority areas — outside of the WUI — for longer periods of time. The prioritization order for weed abatement on City-maintained properties is as follows:

  • 2017 wildfire burn scar areas including Fountaingrove, Hidden Valley and Coffey Park
  • Other areas in or adjacent to the Wildland Urban Interface area
  • Other City parcels outside of WUI, focusing first on larger undeveloped areas such as those that exist within A Place to Play and Youth parks

For more information on the City’s Weed Abatement Program and to determine if a property is located in the WUI, visit SRCity.org/WeedAbatement.

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