by Ryan Hill

PLACERVILLE (CBS13) — It’s been over six months since walls of fire tore through the city of Paradise; leaving behind ash and painful memories.

Placerville, more than 100 miles away from the Butte County town, is now attempting to adjust one of its ordinances to prevent something similar from happening in its city.

“We all live in a foothill region that has a tremendous amount of fuel and growth,” Pierre Rivas, director of development services, said. “So we’re looking at ordinances and how to better control.“

Rivas said the city is using the Hazardous Vegetation Ordinance that is used by El Dorado County as inspiration. That ordinance has provisions and regulations on trimming of trees, as well as cutting of ivy and vines to prevent them from becoming ladder fuel for wildfires.

If the ordinance in Placerville is approved, people would have to cut and trim plants on their property.

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George Ortwell said his landlord may not be happy about doing that.

“I don’t think she’d want to do that. She likes it the way it is. So you’d have to talk to her about that,” Ortwell said.

Rivas understood that some people may be upset about the removing of some foliage in the area.

“A lot of people are mad because it’s a lot of money it’s a lot of money and an expense doing it yourself,” Rivas said. “It takes quite a bit of manpower to actually manage that fuel. Trimming the trees picking up the shrubs.”

Ortwell said he hopes that he and his landlord get some financial help to remove the vines and ivy from their property if the ordinance goes into effect.

“It’s a thought but I don’t know if it’ll come to pass,” Ortwell said. “It’s been that way for years and I don’t know how receptive she’ll be about that.”

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That may not happen with the proposed ordinance.

“The ordinance in and of itself doesn’t have any programs that provide money to help property owners maintain their property,” Rivas said.

Rivas said there could be state grants available to help supplant the cost of removing some of the plants. He also said the ordinance won’t happen overnight. It could take some time to finalize and be able to distinguish which plants pose as a fire hazard.

In the meantime, there are some vacant lots and unmaintained lands that are going to be some of the first areas on Placerville’s radar.


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