Letters are going out this week to property owners that are creating a serious fire hazard because they have failed to abate weeds and other rubbish.
The 1,000 plus owners of homes, businesses, vacant lots and even the City of Manteca for such municipal owned areas as the Tidewater Bikeway, street medians and the site of the proposed fire station at Woodward Avenue and Atherton Drive will have until June 15 to abate weeds.
Fire Chief Kirk Waters noted the city is going to bid this week to get the weeds at the future fire station site mowed.
If parcels aren’t abated when firefighters re-inspect them they will be put on a 15-day notice that the city will have contractors clean weeds up passing the cost along with fines. The property owner is billed for the work. If they opt not 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.
Due to the wet spring that has produced above average weed growth coupled with the impact of the drought on many trees, fire officials expect fire condition to be high this summer and fall.
First-time offenders are given the current grace period to remove the weeds and other combustible material that firefighters cite them for in order to avoid a fine.
Urban grass fires can be just as destructive. In June of 2008 three grass fires along Interstate got out of control thanks to high winds. There were 33 homes damages with in condominiums 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 in terms of how high it can stand.
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.
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.
For abatement of inoperable and/or abandoned vehicles contact the Code Enforcement Officer at 456.-8156.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org