News

Heights improves clearing efforts

By Yvonne Lanot
La Habra Journal

Earthquakes and fires. Two things that southern California is known for in natural disasters.

With temperatures still hitting the high 90s, brush fires are a big risk in many cities, including the city of La Habra Heights. With fires able to start in an instant, it is no wonder that the city has made an effort to keep it safe from a wild fire.

The La Habra Heights Fire Department ensures that residents are in compliance with the Weed Abatement Program for the city. The reason for this program is to ensure the safety of the citizens and to prevent fires from happening due to large vegetation growth and the accumulation of debris.

According to the city’s website, “the Weed Abatement Program is a year-round effort to keep the City of La Habra Heights fire safe.”

“The big part [of the program] is keeping [residents] property weed free and free from dead material,” said Doug Graft, La Habra Heights fire chief.

In the past, the program only had small portions of residents’ land to meet the city’s standards, but within the past few years and more than 2200 parcels later, the city requires 100 percent of the property to be free of any dead material.

While most citizens have already had their properties checked since May, there are still some parts of the city that the fire department still have to check.

“We’re almost done with the initial inspections, and then we’re doing a number of re-inspections,” Graft said. “As I said, it’s a year-round responsibility, so as we drive around we look for fire hazards or sometimes people will ask us to look at parcels if they come across anything fire hazardous.”

The process of this program is once a resident gets a door hanger notice, they have 21 days to get their properties cleaned up and re-inspected for approval by the fire department.

And do not think that the city of La Habra Heights takes this program lightly, for if a resident does not comply with the clean up, citizens may be subject to a minimum $300 citation and a city contractor will be sent to their property for cleaning up and the owner must pay the contractor and administration fees for not taking action after getting their notice, according to Graft.

And with this heat, there have been a small number of fires that have occurred in the City of La Habra Heights that have been caused by dead weeds and materials. Graft believes that this program is the best way to help make sure the city is safe from fires.

“A thing that we can do [for the city] to take our chances, is to remove the fuel,” Graft said. “We can’t take some of the other things away that can cause a fire, but we can take the fuel away and that’s the goal of the program.”

In the end Graft stresses the importance of this program, “Although it starts May 1st, it’s a year-round responsibility.”
For more information on this program, contact the weed abatement division by e-mail or phone, which can be found on the city of La Habra Height’s website.

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Started in 1995, the La Habra Journal is an independent community news source serving the cities of La Habra and La Habra Heights.