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Maintain your property to avoid fire, health issues
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Spring does not officially start until May 18, but the number of daylight hours each day has already grown such that it starts getting light around 6 a.m. and does not get dark until almost 6 p.m. This means higher average daily temperatures, less fog and more opportunity for vegetation to grow. In fact, the grasses that later turn into fire hazards are already growing to the extent that now is the time to start maintaining them to keep them under control. Long-term weather forecasts suggest that the coming months may be very dry ones, so we can expect hazardous fire conditions this summer and fall, in particular.

Local and state codes require properties (in urban environments) to be free of excessive fire-hazard growth and debris. The kinds of things to eliminate are overgrown weeds, grasses, brush and bushes. Vacant lots are especially problematic, but if caught in time, the unwanted growth can be easily disked. Several early-season diskings can help eliminate the problem all together. Piles of cuttings should be removed from properties, and this also applies to household discards like clothing, kitchen waste, newspapers, and other trash.

Residents can also improve fire safety by eliminating dead or drying tree limbs that may be near or touching the ground. Firewood should not be stacked near the house, and if possible, not near any other wood structure. While we are addressing residential safety issues, now is also a good time to ensure that residential and commercial buildings have their addresses clearly displayed so they can be seen from the street. This aids in fire and police emergency responses. The department has observed that many homes and businesses have incorrect, partial, or no address numbers displayed at all.

In addition to the fire safety aspects, residents should keep in mind that overgrown vegetation and piles of debris and discards also attract unwanted vermin and insects. Rats, black widows, mice, snakes, and other pests thrive in those environments, so it is advisable to eliminate these attractive nuisances.

The proper maintenance of yards and lots is important for basic fire and health safety considerations, and it is also a matter of community pride. Your local fire department or code enforcement agency can help with questions or complaints you might have. In Ceres, you can call the Code Enforcement Unit at 538-5799 with any questions or to report problems in your neighborhood. The following link that is hosted by the Office of the State Fire Marshal may also be helpful: