Merced County authorities announced the kickoff this month of the annual weed abatement program, a process that aims to reduce overgrown grass and debris from yards that cause fire hazards and other issues.
Property owners who haven’t eliminated weeds will receive notices and reminders instructing them to cut down their weeds or disc their fields. Inspections of properties that present a potential fire hazard will begin after May 4, according to a news release from the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Merced County.
“Nobody likes weeds; they’re ugly, nasty and a big fire hazard,” firefighters said in the statement. “So Merced County is asking you to get them pulled out or chopped down by early May so they don’t become tinder for the next blaze.”
While dead weeds are the most flagrant fire hazard, fire officials warn that debris piles, tires and rubbish can also be huge fire hazards and should be removed.
“This year has been particularly tricky for firefighters,” firefighters said. “The drought has left a lot of vegetation dried out, but the late showers have caused just enough weed and grass growth to become fuel for summer fires. If it is the long, hot, dry summer that some have forecast, everyone’s help will be needed to prevent fires.”
After the roughly 1,200 notices are mailed out to property owners, authorities plan to follow up with inspections.
“If the fire hazards haven’t been removed, the property owner can be cited under county ordinances and can be subjected to fines,” firefighters said.
Additional information can be found at www.co.merced.ca.us or by calling the Merced County Fire Prevention Office, (209) 385-7347, option 1.
Weed Abatement Instructions
▪ Abate weeds by discing, mowing or rototilling. Do not burn.
▪ Abate weeds to a minimum of 30 feet distance from property line and structures.
▪ Remove all rubbish, if any. Do not burn.
“Failure to receive or acknowledge receipt of notice does not affect the validity of any proceedings taken. ... A property identified as a public nuisance is subject to cost recovery should a fire occur on the property.”
Source: Merced County