SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) — The Santa Rosa Fire Department on Wednesday began inspecting parcels to make sure they comply with the city’s weed and rubbish abatement ordinance during the fire season.

Property owners are required to cut weeds and grasses that are more than 4 inches high on their property if it is located within the Wildland Urban Interface, is on a vacant lot including those in fire rebuild areas, or if the parcel contains more than a half-acre of unimproved land.

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Property owners also are required to ensure the properties are in compliance with the ordinance until the fire season is declared over, usually after significant rain in the fall.

Property owners also are encouraged to use trimming, mowing and power equipment before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m., to never use a lawn mower in dry vegetation, and to use a weed trimmer instead to cut down dry weeds and grass.

Other fire prevention measures include removing rocks in grass and weeds that can start a fire when struck by a metal blade, and keeping a cellphone handy to call 911 immediately in case of a fire.

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“Nobody would have expected we’d have the Tubbs Fire move through the city of Santa Rosa, the weed abatement program does a fantastic job of keeping small fires small–and allowing Santa Rosa Fire to come in and put them out quickly and efficiently,” said Paul Lowenthal, assistant fire marshal for Santa Rosa Fire.

Jason Weiss, who lost his Fountaingrove home to the Tubbs Fire in 2017, knows all too well the danger that the weeds potentially pose.

“As somebody who lost their home up here — anything that could mitigate the fire would be great. In all honesty, I’m not sure anything could’ve helped the previous fire that came through here–but it could help small fires,” Weiss said.

More information on Santa Rosa’s weed abatement program is available at the fire department’s website.

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