By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Stay atop of weeds to trim fire hazards
Placeholder Image
Spring is not here quite yet, but we are seeing some of the hints that the time is near. The warm weather is headed for the area we live in. And with the passing of each day, the amount of daylight time increases by about two minutes. This will make a big difference in the weather patterns and the rate at which tress, grasses, brush and other vegetative growth takes place.

Since plants respond favorably to the warmer and longer days, now is the time to start keeping an eye on lots and yards that will soon start growing vegetation at a rapid pace. The rain should be coming back as well which will accelerate the growth of all plants. These factors combined set the stage for properties that will become overgrown with weeds and the like. Once they dry out, they become fire hazards and become hiding places for rodents and other vermin.

Public safety personnel view overgrown weeds and vegetation as a life-safety issue. Grass and brush fires pose threats to structures, homes, wildlife, people and firefighters. There is now also an increasing awareness about appearance issues, which is another reason to keep yards and lots trimmed. Persons who, through ignorance or intentional neglect, are subject to civil fines and penalties, as well as being liable for damages, personal injuries and the cost of fighting the fires. Non-compliant property owners or occupants may also be cited or arrested for violations of applicable fire codes.

My point is not to emphasize the legal consequences, but to explain how these fire hazards are real, and that the law recognizes the importance of eliminating them. Of course, we hope for voluntary compliance instead of citations. Among the various laws that apply to allowing fire hazards, the Uniform Fire Code states: "Accumulations of wastepaper, hay, grass, straws, weeds, litter or combustible or flammable waste material, waste petroleum products, or rubbish of any kinds, shall not be permitted to remain upon any roof or in any court, yard, vacant lot or open space. All weeds, grass vines or other growth, when same endangers property or is liable to be fired, shall be cut down and removed by the owner or occupant of the property."

Weeds should be cut regularly from this point on. Unabated growth that exceeds a week or two will lead to more difficult cutting. This growth should be cut close to the ground and kept that way. Clippings should not be left to dry at the site, as they quickly become a fire hazard and are subject to spontaneous combustion. Disking and appropriate weed (and seed) killer is really the best option to keep the growth under control for longer periods of time. Otherwise you will find yourself having to mow the weeds at least weekly, and depending on the size of the land, it could become an overwhelming task.