Protecting Your Home and Property from Brush Fires
Posted by Councilmember Englander on July 12, 2017 at 3:28 PM
The recent fire at the Northridge LADWP facility and the fires raging throughout California serve as a reminder that we must continue to be vigilant by protecting homes from fire by safely clearing excess brush. Brush fires occur year round however, last season’s rainfall, low humidity, and the summer’s high temperatures created a large amount of plant growth and very dry conditions.
The Los Angeles Fire Department has already sent out notices to residents in Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones to clear the brush around their home. Failure to provide proof of completion will result in a $24 fee to re-inspect the property as well as penalties for non-compliance.
Remember that when clearing your brush, safety is very important. In recent years many brush fires have started by homeowners attempting to clear their brush. Many times, the sparks produced from metal blades on motorized equipment have started fires.
The following are simple guidelines for homeowners to follow to clear their brush safely:
- All grass and weeds within 200 feet of a structure shall be cut and maintained to a maximum height of 3 inches
- Native brush/shrubs shall be trimmed up from the ground 1/3 their height and have a minimum separation of 18 feet from any structure and other native shrubs
- Native shrubs shall not be planted within 10 feet of a combustible fence or roadway edge
- Maintain all grass and weeds within 10 feet of a combustible fence or edge of roadway to a maximum height of 3 inches
- Branches/foliage shall be trimmed up 5 feet from any roof surface
- Branches/foliage shall be trimmed back 10 feet from outlet of the chimney
- Always have a water source readily available. A fire extinguisher, garden hose or a few buckets of water
- Avoid clearing brush during the peak temperatures of the day, between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm
- Only use properly maintained motorized equipment and have a spark arrester when required
- Do not refuel motorized equipment while motor is running. Use approved fuel-dispensing containers only
- Always make sure the hot exhaust on any motorized equipment is clear of any vegetation
- Do not use metal blades on weed whackers/whips, use nylon line or plastic blades instead
- Always wear safety gear such as glasses, gloves, hard hats, and dust masks
For more information on brush clearance, click here.