*NEW BRUSH CLEARANCE REQUIREMENTS FOR LOS ANGELES*
The state of California has seen an increase in frequency and size of wild fires, including historic brushfires in the city of Los Angeles such as the La Tuna, Creek, and Skirball fires. Additionally, smaller brushfires have been accidentally started by well intentioned residents performing brush clearance. Therefore, Los Angeles City Council has approved an ordinance to increase requirements for brush clearance and fire safety in the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones (VHFHSZ). This ordinance establishes appropriate safety measures necessary to mitigate the occurrence of such fires.
Highlights of the new ordinance include:
- Use of metal cutting blades for grass or brush clearance shall be limited to those which are non-ferrous/non-sparking.
- Brush clearance cannot be done on red flag days, when fire weather conditions are at their peak.
- Individuals engaged in brush clearance operations shall not engage in any other activities during their actual clearance of grass or brush.
- An approved fire extinguisher, or a pressurized garden hose with attached nozzle shall be within 10 feet of any grass or brush clearance operation, to quickly extinguish a small fire before it burns out of control.
- A cell phone capable of dialing 9-1-1 shall be charged and readily accessible to the grass or brush clearance operation.
Read the full Ordinance here. It is effective now.
Revised – February 9, 2017
Owners of property located in the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone (VHFHSZ) shall maintain their property in accordance with the Fire Code (L.A.M.C. 57.322). Year-round compliance shall be maintained as described below on all native brush, weeds, grass, trees and hazardous vegetation within 200 feet of any structures/buildings, whether those structures are on the owner’s property or adjoining properties, and within 10 feet of any combustible fence or roadway/driveway used for vehicular travel.
- Maintain all weeds and grasses at a maximum height of 3 inches.
- NOTE: Due to soil erosion, your Brush Clearance Unit does not require neither recommend the removal of roots nor the practice of raking the soil (cutting the vegetation down below the soil surface). The requirement is to maintain hazardous vegetation (brush/grass/weeds) at a maximum height of 3 inches.
- Maintain the lower 1/3rd of trees and shrubs by removing all leafy foliage, twigs, and branches up to a maximum of 6 feet from the ground (i.e., any tree 18 feet or higher requires only 6 feet of clearance).
- NOTE: This requirement does not apply to fruit trees, privacy hedges, and ornamental shrubbery (e.g., Italian cypress trees) provided they are well maintained and free of all dead and dry material.
- Remove all dead trees and shrubs.
- Maintain 5 feet of vertical clearance between roof surfaces and portions of overhanging trees and shrubs (i.e., any overhanging foliage must be at least 5 feet above the roof).
- Remove any portion of a tree or shrub within 10-foot radius of a chimney outlet.
- Maintain the roofs of all structures free of leaves, needles, twigs and other combustible matter.
- Remove all dead/dry undergrowth and material within trees and shrubs to include all dead or dry palm fronds/branches.
- Once brush clearance is conducted, remove and safely dispose of all cut or bagged vegetation, all dead trees and all debris. This includes all combustible junk, trash or debris that may be on your property, regardless of how it got there. Combustible debris may include, but is not limited to, paper trash, cardboard boxes, household trash, fabric/clothing, plastic, rubber/tires, or piles of yard waste.
- Cut vegetation may be machine processed (chipped) and spread as ground cover (mulch) so it does not exceed 3 inches in depth within 30 feet of structures and no more than 6 inches in depth 30+ feet from structures/buildings. Machine processed/chipped material shall not be placed within 10 feet of combustible fences or road surfaces.
- Trim Native shrubs/brush so foliage is removed from lower third up to a maximum of 6 feet. Native shrubs shall not exceed 216 cubic feet in volume and shall be spaced not less than 3 times its maximum height but not less than 18 feet from other native shrubs, structures, and combustible material.
- NOTE: Native Shrubs/Brush are indigenous plants that mostly grow wild without any watering or care. High Energy Release Shrubs/Brush include, but are not limited to, Junipers, Spanish or Scotch Broom, Manzanita, Service Berry, Mountain Mahogany/Whitethorn, Sage, and Rabbit Brush, and as determined by the Fire Chief.
- Maintain all other landscape vegetation, including, but not limited to, conifers (e.g., cedar, cypress, fir, juniper, and pine), eucalyptus, acacia, palm and pampas grass in such a condition as not to provide an available fuel supply to augment the spread or intensity of a fire or impede egress of emergency vehicles. This includes trimming up and removing all dead and dry material as required above.
- Firewood shall be located 30 feet away from any structure or shall be completely enclosed within a fire resistive closed container (L.A.M.C. Sec. 4906.3.3).
- Trim back vegetation and maintain 3 feet radius clearance around fire hydrants (L.A.M.C. Sec. 57.507.5).
- Vegetation/branches extending past curb and over the street shall be trimmed back to the curb line and up a minimum of 14 feet vertically from the roadway surface to the lowest overhanging branch to provide clearance for emergency vehicles (L.A.M.C. Sec. 57.503.1).
- NOTE: Vegetation/branches extending over the sidewalk shall also be trimmed up a minimum of 9 feet vertically from the sidewalk surface to the lowest overhanging branch so as not to obstruct or interfere with the free passage of pedestrians (L.A.M.C. Sec. 56.08).
2018 BRUSH CLEARANCE CONTRACTORS LIST
AVALON LANDSCAPE, INC.
5940 Buffalo Avenue
Van Nuys, CA 91401
CA, EHAP, CSLB C-61/D-49,
BRIAN WALSH BRUSH CLEARANCE
Brian T. Walsh
1622 Winona Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90027
CA, EHAP, CSLB C-61/D-49
INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL CORP.
PO Box 4218
Panorama City, CA 91412
ASCA/RCA, CA, CAUS, CAMS, CTWCS, TCIA, CTSP, EHAP, CSLB C-16/D-49, CSLB C-31
PAN AMERICAN BRUSH CLEARANCE, INC.
4570 Van Nuys Blvd. #284
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
PEPO WEED ABATEMENT, INC.
5660 Long Pine Pl.
Paso Robles, CA 93446
SILENT FIRE, INC. MONET WILD FLOWERS
1409 Kuchner Dr.
Simi Valley, CA 93063
THRIFTY TREE SERVICE, INC.
18625 Topham Street
Tarzana, CA 91335
CA, CSLB C-61/D-49
American Society of Consulting Arborist/Registered Consulting Arborists
Certified Arborist Utility Specialist
Certified Arborist Municipal Specialist
Certified Tree Worker Climber Specialist
TCIA Certified Treecare Safety Professionals
TCIA Electrical Hazards Awareness Program
Limited Specialty Tree Service Contractor
Construction Zone Traffic Control Contractor
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