Property Owner Responsibility
Property owners are expected to maintain their properties hazard free throughout the year.
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.
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:
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 the button below.
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