Unusually heavy weed growth triggered by a series of storms in January and February has prompted the Manteca Fire Department to move its weed abatement efforts up a full month. They will start on April 1 this year.
“The change is necessary to address the significant amount of growth we have seen, which we attribute to the rainfall,” noted Manteca Fire Marshal Lantz Rey.
Firefighters over a two-week period inspect all properties that they can see from their fire engine cab from streets as well as alleys. Properties found to be in violation of the city’s weed abatement ordinance will be sent a courtesy notice requesting the property owner to voluntarily comply by cutting or destroying the weeds or vegetation within 30 days.
If property owners fail to comply, the city will hire an independent contractor to mow the property. The property owner is then billed for the work. If they opt to pay, the city places a lien against their property.
Property owners are also subject to a $100 fine for the first infraction and $200 fine for subsequent infractions.
Urban grass fires can be just as destructive as wildland fires. In June of 2008 three grass fires along Interstate 5 got out of control in Stockton north of March Lane thanks to high winds. There were 33 homes damaged and three single-family homes destroyed.
And while homeowners under the city’s emergency drought rules have the option of letting their lawns die, they still must keep what is left under control terms of how high it can stand.
The advance notice gives property owners two weekends to tackle high weeds before the inspections start.
If you have questions about the Weed Abatement Program or would like to report a property that isn’t being maintained, call the Fire Prevention Bureau at (209) 456.8340.
The fire hazard abatement rules apply to more than just weeds. It also includes 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:
uProperty 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.)
uProperty 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.
uTrees 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.
uAlleys: 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.
uAll 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.
For abatement of inoperable and/ or abandoned vehicles contact the Code Enforcement Officer at 456.-8156.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail email@example.com