By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Weed cops hit streets May 1
Repeat offenders face fines starting at $20
The rain has created an abundance of potential fuel for fire in the form of weeds. - photo by HIME ROMERO
The extended rainy season may have broken the back of the drought but it has created another major concern - grass fires.

The usually cool and rainy weather has set the stage for a bumper crop of grass that will turn into highly flammable dried weeds as temperatures warm up creating an extensive fuel source for fire.

Firefighters note that windy conditions are standard fare in Manteca in the late spring, summer, and fall. That coupled with the potential for a proliferation of weeds this year could create conditions for a repeat of what happened several years ago in Stockton. That’s when nearly 30 homes within the city were destroyed by a fast-moving blaze triggered by weeds catching on fire in an urban neighborhood.

Manteca Fire Department is launching its annual weed abatement program on Sunday, May 1.

Fire crews will travel the city and cite residents for any visual weed or fire hazard visible from their trucks when they drive down streets and alleys.

 Roughly 1,400 property owners year after year fail to abate weeds until after they are issued a warning by the Manteca Fire Department.

Among those there are about 400 people who year in and year out are repeat offenders.

Their refusal to heed to abatement rules will now cost them extra money under a new ordinance that went into effect last year. It imposes a $20 fine for repeat offenders who fail to abate weeds in a timely manner for two years in a row. A $40 fine is proposed for those who fail to do so for three or more consecutive years.

The Manteca Fire Department inspects each parcel of land within the community.

Citations will be issued to any and all property owners maintaining fire or nuisance hazards on any property within the City of Manteca. After notification, if the fire hazard and/ or nuisance is not promptly abated, the property owner will be required to appear in court. This includes, but is not limited to weeds, rubbish, dirt, trash, grass, dead trees, vegetation or other materials which constitute a public nuisance.

Specifically, the following standards apply within Manteca’s city limits:

• Property of 1/2 acre or more: Mow all vegetation to a maximum of 4 to 6 inches in height. Remove all grass, weeds or debris from the property. Disc or till the entire property. (In the process of abating property, keep dust production to a minimum to ensure compliance with Manteca Municipal Code Section 8.17 - Prevention of airborne sand, soil or dust traveling to neighboring properties in visible amounts.)

• Property of 1/2 acre or less: Mow all vegetation to a maximum of 4 to 6 inches in height. Rake and remove all dry grass.

• Trees and shrubs: All dead trees, shrubs and bushes must be cut down and removed from the property. Prunings must also be removed from the property.

• Alleys: Mow all grass and/ or weeds to a maximum of 4 to 6 inches in height. Fence lines must be clean and free of weeds. Any and all combustibles must be removed. This includes, but is not limited to, trash, rubbish, dry grass, prunings, clippings, auto parts and furniture. Property owners are responsible for the maintenance of the alley from the property line to the center of the alley.

• All properties: All weeds, rubbish, excess dirt, trash, dry vegetation, discarded furniture, appliances, garbage, auto parts or other material which constitutes a public nuisance, must be abated from the property fence line to fence line.

If you have any questions, contact the Fire Prevention Division at 456-8340, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

For abatement of inoperable and/ or abandoned vehicles contact the Code Enforcement Officer at 456-8156.

Firefighters are expected to take several weeks to canvas all property in the city.

Preventing grass fires is a high priority with the department.