Dried tall grasses, weeds, and other growth pose a serious fire threat in our community. One little spark can start a fire. If it’s hot, dry, and windy, it will quickly become a big fire. Property owners can help us–and protect themselves and their neighbors–by mowing or otherwise removing such vegetation from their property, in compliance with the California Fire Code Section 304.1.2, which states:
“Weeds, grass, vines, or other growth that is capable of being ignited and endangering property shall be cut down and removed by the owner or occupant of the premises.”
In compliance with the CFC, Sonoma County Fire District requires that all vegetation that poses a fire threat be cleared to the standard set forth for properties within the local responsibility areas (LRA) that fall within its jurisdiction.
Sonoma County Fire Protection District also has authority over those areas that fall within the State responsibility areas (SRA). (If you are unsure of which area you’re in, click here for map. If you live in a dark gray area, you are in the LRA. If you live in a light gray or pink area, you are in the SRA.)
In the LRA, you are required to clear combustible material at least 30 feet from any structure, which includes fences.
Sonoma County Fire District Weed Abatement Standards.
Fire departments respond every year to grass fires resulting from mowing. If the mower blade strikes a rock, a spark occurs; then fire occurs. Mow only in the early morning while vegetation is damp: humidity is high; temperatures low.
Property owners who do not clear their property in accordance with legal requirements face significant financial liability. They are responsible for:
All damage to the person and/or property of others as a result of a fire that starts in the uncleared areas
Total cost incurred by any/all emergency responders dispatched to put the fire out and provide medical and/or law enforcement assistance
Within the Town of Windsor, a citation may be issued that carries with it a fine of up to $500 per day (up to a maximum of $100,000) the dangerous condition is not abated.
REPORTING DANGEROUS WEEDS/DRY GRASSES
Call (707) 892-2003 to report properties with dangerous dry weeds/grasses. Please be prepared to provide the address of the property, your name and phone number, and any other information you believe to be important.
We appreciate your help by reporting properties that have dry grasses. It is important to understand, however, that we cannot enter onto private property (backyards, for example) to look at weeds. Also our authority extends only to fire danger, not how bad a neighbor’s yard looks.