By Christin Ayers

OAKLAND (CBS SF) — A new grand jury report blames Oakland fire inspectors for failing to collect nearly a million dollars in fire hazard fines from homeowners during what could be one of the worst fire seasons in years.

The fear of fines is not stopping some homeowners from letting their lawns grow into fire hazards, including one of the worst offenders on Panoramic Way in the Oakland hills.

“It’s something that keeps me up at night. Conditions this year are going to be dangerous,” Vince Crudele of the Oakland Fire Prevention Bureau said.

An Alameda County grand jury report released Monday blames fire inspectors for not doing enough to collect fines from homeowners.

Since 2010, Oakland inspectors have issued nearly $1.8 million in fines to homeowners failing to clear weeds.

But, they have failed to collect more than half of that amount.

“We are doing everything we can with the resources we have available. But when you have to conduct an average of 100 residential inspections per day, per engine company in an 8 hour period, that is difficult for an engine company to do,” Crudele said.

The grand jury wants Oakland to create a department to collect those fines, and put liens on properties that don’t pay.


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