High Weeds From Wet Winter Turning Into Fire Hazard In Sacramento

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — As the temperatures rise, so do the weeds.

This year, the City of Sacramento is taking extra measures to crack down property owners who don’t keep up and slapping them with expensive fines.

Monday was the deadline for property owners in Sacramento to remove dry weeds that extend over a foot.

Nanda Gounder lost her home in 2015 when the weeds in a field behind her fence caught fire. She says the city needs to step up its enforcement.

“We had a gazebo over here and the fire came through the fence,” she said. “It was terrible, horrible, [the] worst nightmare of my life.”

Nanda and her family had their home rebuilt and moved back in last year. But she fears she’ll have to relive her nightmare again.

“In March, the weeds were above our fence,” she said.

Nanda says she’s been calling the city to mow down the weeds she believes are a fire hazard, for months.

“If someone throws a cigarette butt, there’s going to be a very big fire,” she said.

City Code Enforcement Manager Jose Mendez says the field behind Nanda’s home is a hot spot for his team, but not quite a fire hazard yet.

“We are coming across some instances where the weeds are still green because of the rain, it may not be a fire hazard but it’s still a nuisance,” Mendez said.

Because of all the rain, Mendez is expecting a busy season for weed abatement and he’s been planning for it.

“Our strategy is to prioritize lots surrounding a parcel like this, a senior facility, schools, parks, residential areas,” added Mendez.

One lot off of Highway 99 and Mack Road is in violation of the city code. The property owner hasn’t responded to the city’s deadline to have all the weeds trimmed down by Monday.

CBS13 wanted to know what are the consequences for property owners who don’t meet Monday’s deadline?

Mendez says they will get an administrative penalty of up to $1,500, then a city contractor steps in to cut the weeds.

“They will get a bill in the mail from the city, they are basically responsible for the costs associated with the abatement plus the fines,” Mendez added.

Mendez says the city is not responsible for trimming weeds. It’s the responsibility of property owners who were notified by the city of Monday’s deadline back in February.

Nanda says the city isn’t doing enough for her neighborhood and is afraid she’ll lose more than her home this time.

“If I need to go and cut the grass down with my three year old then I will have to extend my backyard out too,” said Nanda.

Code enforcement says it relies on the public to file complaints. Concerned residents can do so by calling 311.

More from Angela Musallam
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