2010-04-30 / Community

Fire department issues weed abatement notices

The Ventura County Fire Department has mailed nearly 14,000 weed abatement notices to property owners with land covered under the Fire Hazard Reduction Program. The notices inform property owners that they must establish 100 feet of clearance on their land to protect against wildfires.

“That 100-foot clearance is a critical tool for fighting wildfires,” said Fire Prevention Officer Larry Williams. “It establishes what we call defensible space, a buffer zone around a home that gives firefighters a much better chance of saving the structure.”

Homeowners face a June 1 deadline for clearing their property or having the county do it at the homeowner’s expense.

The Ventura County Fire Department started the weed abatement effort in 1965, and the statistics show that voluntary compliance with the program is high due to the efforts of the engine companies and fire inspectors who supervise the work.

The program has taken on added urgency in the county as more development has occurred in what the fire service calls the Wildland Urban Interface, the area where development borders natural vegetation. Homes and property in these areas are at a much higher risk from a wildfire and the Fire Hazard Reduction Program was initiated to minimize that risk. The creation of defensible space is a key component in the department’s “Ready, Set, Go!” wildfire preparation program.

“Defensible space really gives firefighters an edge during a wildfire,” said Capt. Ron Oatman. “If a homeowner gives us that buffer zone, and then prepares their home like we teach in the ‘Ready, Set, Go!’ program, there is a much better chance of us being able to save their house.”

The department’s “Ready, Set, Go!” website at http:// vcreadysetgo.org has information on weed abatement, fire-safe construction, fire-resistant landscaping, emergency supplies, evacuation planning and printed materials and videos on wildfire preparation.

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