Rancho Santa Margarita Fire Prevention through Weed Abatement
To prepare for the upcoming fire season, the Rancho Santa Margarita Fire Department would like to remind residents and property owners about the Rancho Santa Margarita Weed Abatement program.
Every spring, the Fire Marshal identifies properties where overgrown weeds present a potential fire hazard, notifies property owners, and oversees the removal of such hazards by either the property owners or a public contractor. Property owners will be charged for any weed abatement done by the contractor at a premium rate.
When a property owner receives a Weed Abatement notice, it is important to respond immediately by clearing the hazard from your property. Rancho Santa Margarita is surrounded by brush-covered hillsides. Should a wildfire occur, the action you have taken to create a defensible space on your property will greatly reduce the risk of fire and may save your property.
When you receive a Weed Abatement notice and you don’t understand what you need to do, give us a call, we can assist you in making your property fire safe and will explain what clearing needs to be done. Please clear your property of weeds by the compliance date. If you do not clear the violation, you may be fined. You may also obtain additional information on the requirements by viewing the Weed Abatement ordinance: If you receive notice, you will be required to remove all weeds, grasses, shrubs or dead trees upon lots, parcels or alley ways of land in the City of Rancho Santa Margarita that pose a fire hazard. You will have 30 days to demonstrate compliance, as compliance inspections will begin in May. Weed Abatement is the Law.
If a property owner fails to clear their parcel of the weeds and/or debris once notified, the City of Rancho Santa Margarita will have the weed abatement work done by a commercial contractor and bill for the charges incurred at a premium rate, plus in many cases an additional administrative fee. If the City is forced to clear your property and the charges remain unpaid, a lien against your property will be recorded.
Please keep in mind that weed abatement is year-round in Rancho Santa Margarita and it is the property owner’s responsibility to ensure that their property is maintained in a “fire safe” condition to protect themselves and their neighbors around them.
If you are concerned about a weed abatement problem in Rancho Santa Margarita , please contact the Rancho Santa Margarita Fire Administration Office. After the spring Weed Abatement Program is completed, you should address any grievances to the Code Enforcement Division of the Police Department.
Important Fire Prevention Tips for Rancho Santa Margarita
- Create a defensible weed abatement space around your property totaling at least 100 feet by removing all dead and dying vegetation within that space.
- Provide a minimum space between vegetation that is three times the dimension of the tree.
- Use fire resistant landscaping such as succulent, flower beds and rock in a 30 foot diameter around your property. Remove leaves from your yard and rain gutters; trim low hanging tree branches at least ten feet from your chimney.
- When using power equipment, remember to use them before 10:00 a.m. or after 6:00 p.m. to reduce the risk of starting a fire, especially on windy, hot dry days. Remove rocks or debris before operating power equipment. Clear dead and dying vegetation all year round.
- Have a good weed abatement program in place, this will eliminate most potential fuel sources for a fire.