Property Owner Responsibility

Seasonality of Some Hazards

Property owners are expected to maintain their properties hazard free throughout the year. Dense native brush, certain ornamental vegetation and neglected/dead landscaping can burn almost any time of the year, but new annual weeds and grass may not become a significant hazard until they start to dry in late spring at which point they become an increasingly dangerous fire hazard until they are cut or removed. Refer to the next section for more information on when property clearance should be performed.

ACWM tractor discing operations begin as early as April 1 at which time annual weeds may still be green in some areas. This is because ACWM must take advantage of a very narrow window of opportunity to clear as many weeds as possible before the onset of the fire season.

Specific Requirements

Property must be maintained free of hazardous vegetation for a minimum of 100 feet from any home or other structure adjacent to the property and a minimum of 10 feet along roads. Clearance of hazardous vegetation up to 200 feet is required in many areas because of additional fire hazard conditions. These high fire hazard areas are usually in or near foothills or other areas with slopes and native brush.

The entire 100 feet (or 200 feet in high fire hazard areas) does not have to be cleared down to bare ground in most cases. Refer to the following guidelines:

  • Dry grass and weeds:

    Since dry grass and weeds are the most likely fuel to start a fire, they should be cut or mowed to a height of 3 inches or less throughout the entire clearance area unless it is needed for soil stabilization. In most cases, the dry grass and weeds can simply be left on site if they are cut into small pieces no more than 6 inches in length. (Click here for examples)

    Grass and other vegetation located more than 30 feet from a structure and less than 18 inches in height above the ground, may be maintained where necessary to stabilize the soil and prevent erosion. If this is the case, please contact our office at (626) 575-5484.

  • Native brush, trees and shrubs:
    There should be very little to no native brush within about 30 feet of a home or other structure. Beyond that distance, individual specimens of native brush can remain as long as they are isolated from one another by a distance of at least 15 feet or three times their diameter and are maintained free of all dead and dying material. Taller shrubs and trees should be limbed up from the ground to about 1/3 of their height so that they are less likely to ignite from a fire originating from the ground. (Click here for examples)
    Please see Native Tree Protection Ordinances below for restrictions on tree trimming.
  • Dry or neglected landscaping/ornamental vegetation:
    There should be no dry, dead or neglected landscaping/ornamental vegetation, including cultivated ground cover such as grass, ivy, succulents, or similar plants, in the clearance area if such vegetation provides a means of transmitting a fire to a structure or if such vegetation provides a means of transmitting fire from a structure to adjacent land. (Click here for examples)

There may be additional requirements for improved properties. Contact the Los Angeles County Fire Department's Brush Clearance Unit at (626) 969-2375.


Over the years, the tumbleweed element of ACWM's weed abatement program has been successful at reducing one of the Antelope Valley's worst natural plagues. Each year, ACWM includes vacant properties in the program if there is a reasonable likelihood that that tumbleweeds will grow and mature on the property in amounts sufficient to cause such unsafe, destructive or nuisance conditions as:

  • Posing a fire hazard to adjacent homes
  • Blowing across highways and through busy intersections
  • Building up along homes and businesses
  • Clogging swimming pools
  • Damaging agricultural crops and irrigation equipment


Many of the properties included in the program because of tumbleweeds are not adjacent to homes and therefore owners may not have to remove annual weeds, brush or other vegetation. If you are unsure about what you are supposed to do, you should call our Antelope Valley office at (661) 974-8803.

It is ACWM's experience that the best time to abate tumbleweeds is just after they become dry but before they begin to blow off the property driven by one of the Antelope Valley's frequent windstorms. For this reason, ACWM does not begin systematically inspecting vacant properties for tumbleweed abatement until October 1. For more information on the tumbleweed program, click here.


Figure 2: A scanned image from the October 25, 1990, Los Angeles Times showing residents digging out of an Antelope Valley home after a tumbleweed "storm". Some residents were reportedly trapped inside their homes by huge mounds of the invasive plant


Native Tree Protection Ordinances

In many areas of the County, certain native trees like oaks, walnuts, and sycamores are protected by County or city ordinances.

The table below shows a list of known native tree protection ordinances. There may be others so property owners planning to cut or trim native trees should check with their city first.



City/County Website Contact Municipal Ordinance or County Code
Agoura Hills (818) 597-7350 Article XI – Part 2 - Division 7: Oak Tree Preservation Guidelines
Arcadia (626) 574-5423 Article IX - Chapter 7: Oak Tree Preservation
Bradbury (626) 358-3218 Title 9.06 - Chapter 9.06.090: Tree Preservation and Protection
Calabasas (818) 224-1600 Title 17 – Chapter 17.32: Oak Tree Regulations
Cerritos (562) 916-1220 Title 9 – Chapter 9.75: Trees and Landscape
Diamond Bar (909) 839-7030 Title 22 – Chapter 22.38: Tree Preservation and Protection
Gardena (310) 217-9568 Title 13 – Chapter 13.60: Trees, Shrubs and Plants
Glendale (818) 548-3200 Title 12 – Chapter 12.44: Indigenous Trees
Hidden Hills (818) 888-9281 Chapter 8: Tree Preservation
La Canada-Flintridge (818) 790-8881 Title 4 – Chapter 4.26: Preservation, Protection and Removal of Trees
La Verne (818) 596-8706 Title 18 – Chapter 18.78: Preservation, Protection and Removal of Trees
Los Angeles (City) (213) 847-3077 Article 6: Preservation of Protected Trees
Los Angeles (County) http://EnvironmentalReviewOakTree.asp (213) 974-6411
(818) 890-5719
Title 22 – Part 6: Oak Tree Permits
Manhattan Beach (310) 802-5504 Title 10 – Part IV – Chapter 10.52: Site Regulations-Residential Districts
Monrovia (626) 932-5565 Article 17 – Chapter 17.20: Oak Tree Preservation
Palmdale (661) 267-5300 Title 14 – Chapter 14.04: Joshua Tree and Native Desert Veg. Preservation
Palos Verdes Estates (310) 378-0383 Title 12 – Chapter 12.16: Street Trees
Pasadena (626) 744-4321 Title 8 – Chapter 8.52: City Trees and Tree Protection Ordinance
Rosemead (626) 569-2140 Title 17 – Chapter 17.100: Oak Tree Preservation
San Dimas (909) 394-6250 Title 18 – Chapter 18.162: Tree Preservation
San Gabriel (626) 308-2806 Title IX – Chapter 95: Trees and Shrubs
San Marino (626) 300-0712 Chapter 23 – Article 6 – Section 23.06.15: Preservation of Trees
Santa Clarita (661) 294-2567 Title 17 – Chapter 17.03 – Section 17.17.090: Oak Tree Preservation
Sierra Madre (626) 355-7135 Chapter 12.20: Tree Preservation and Protection
South Pasadena (626) 403-7240 Chapter 34: Trees and Shrubs
West Covina (626) 939-8422 Chapter 26 – Article VI – Division 9: Pres., Protection and Removal of Trees
Westlake Village (818) 706-1613 Article 9 – Chapter 9.21: Oak Tree Preservation Standards