The basic objective of the Exterior Hazard Control Division’s Weed Abatement program is to eliminate the incidents of grass and rubbish fires where possible and to reduce the severity where they cannot be eliminated.
Every year, fires threaten homes and properties as a result of unnecessary combustible debris and vegetation. It is every property owner’s responsibility to eliminate these fire hazards upon their property that may endanger their neighbors and the community at large. Every property owner, regardless of residential, commercial, or parcels of land are ultimately responsible for managing their vegetation to meet fire district requirements. As a public service, the fire district offers lists of some area contractors who perform vegetation management work, such as, mowing, disking, and "weed-eating". The fire district does not endorse contractors nor imply approval of the quality of work performed.
The East Contra Costa Fire Protection District has established minimum standards for weed abatement.2019 Minimum Weed Abatement Standards.pdfECCFPD Ordinance 2017-02.pdf
"Weeds" means all wild plants growing upon the streets or private property in this jurisdiction. It includes sagebrush, chaparral (chamise, coyote brush, greasewood, broom brush, buckwheat), dry grass, stubble, brush, litter, or other flammable materials which are capable of being ignited and endangering the public safety by creating a fire hazard.
Property owners are ultimately responsible for managing their vegetation to meet fire district requirements. As a public service, the fire district offers lists of some area contractors who perform vegetation management work, such as, mowing, discing, and "weed-eating". The fire district does not endorse contractors nor imply approval of the quality of work performed.
2019 Weed Abatement Complaints
For complaints within the City of Brentwood limits – (925) 516-5405
For complaints within the City of Oakley limits - (925) 625-7031
For all other complaints – (925) 634-3400 or fax Weed Abatement Complaint form to - (925) 240-2130ECCFPD Weed Abatement Complaint Form as of 06-2017.pdf
Property owners are ultimately responsible to verify abatement meets fire district requirements. For more information regarding Weed Abatement, please contact the Exterior Hazard Control Division at 925-634-3400.
Defensible space is an area around a building in which vegetation, debris and other types of combustible fuels have been treated, cleared, or reduced to slow the spread of fire to and from the building.
The most important person in protecting houses from wildfire is not a firefighter, but the property owner. It is the action taken by the owner before the wildfire occurs that is most critical. Everyone needs to know about defensible space.
100 Feet of Defensible Space is the Law
In January 2005 a new state law became effective that extended the defensible space clearance around homes and structures from 30 feet to 100 feet. Proper clearance to 100 feet dramatically increases the chance of your house surviving a wildfire. This defensible space also provides for firefighter safety when protecting homes during a wildland fire.Checklist.pdf2007DefSpaceBrochure.pdfDefensibleSpaceFlyer.pdf
Learn How You Can Create Defensible Space Around Your Home
Weed Abatement Contractor Lists2019 WEED ABATEMENT CONTRACTOR LIST.pdf
THE FOLLOWING SECTIONS ARE EXCERPTED FROM THE EAST CONTRA COSTA FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT BOARD OF DIRECTORS ORDINANCE NO. 2017-02 ADOPTING THE 2016 CALIFORNIA FIRE CODE WITH AMENDMENTSECCFPD Ordinance 2017-02.pdf
SECTION 320 Exterior Fire Hazard Control.
320.1.1 Jurisdictional Authority. The Board of Directors, retains its power and rights to act pursuant to Part 5 (commencing with Section 14875), Division 12, of the Health and Safety Code, to clear or order the clearing of rubbish, litter or other flammable material where such flammable material endangers the public safety by creating a fire hazard. Fire hazard abatement will be conducted in accordance with the provisions of said Part 5 and this ordinance. In the application of the provisions of said Part 5 to fire hazard abatement proceedings under this ordinance and the Fire Protection District Law of 1987, the terms “Board of Directors” or “Board,” when used in Part 5, means the Board of Fire Commissioners of this jurisdiction under this section; and the officers designated in Health and Safety Code Section 14890 are the employees of the jurisdiction.
320.1.2 Contract for Services. The Board of Directors reserves and retains the power to award a contract for fire hazard abatement work when the employees of the jurisdiction are not used to perform the abatement work.
320.2 Definitions. The following terms are defined in Chapter 2:
Cost of Abatement
Priority Hazard Zone
Reduced Fuel Zone
320.3 Weeds and Rubbish a Public Nuisance. The Board hereby declares that all weeds growing upon private property or streets in this jurisdiction and all rubbish on private property or streets in this jurisdiction are public nuisances. Such weed nuisance is seasonal and recurrent.
320.4 Abatement of Hazard.
320.4.1 Prohibition. No person who has any ownership or possessory interest in or control of parcel of land shall allow to exist thereon any hazardous rubbish, weeds, trees, or other vegetation that constitutes a fire hazard. Destruction by burning within this jurisdiction is unlawful unless the written permission of the Fire Chief or designee is first obtained, and all other applicable permits are obtained from appropriate governing agencies or jurisdictions.
320.4.2 Specific Requirements. The Fire Code Official is authorized to enforce the minimum abatement standards for land in residential, rural and/or rural residential, business, industrial areas, or land which is unused or vacant outlined in this Section. The Fire Code Official is authorized to enforce additional or more stringent abatement on certain properties due to site-specific issues with terrain, regrowth, location, land use, or fire related history. The Fire Code Official is authorized to enter upon private property to do so, to the extent allowed by law.
3188.8.131.52 Parcels Five Acres or Less in Size. All weeds must be maintained at a height of no more than 3 inches. Weeds and grasses must be mowed, with material mulched and scattered or raked and bagged, and removed from the parcel, or disced (see Section 3184.108.40.206). All combustible rubbish or debris, including but not limited to: cardboard boxes, pallets, trash, wood rounds/chunks, rubble, etc., must be removed from the parcel. Parcels may require additional abatement during the season due to the regrowth of weeds and other flammable vegetation.
3220.127.116.11 Parcels Greater than Five Acres in Size. All parcels greater than five acres in size must have 30-foot fuelbreaks and 15-foot crossbreaks (see Sections 318.104.22.168 and 322.214.171.124). Crossbreaks should divide the parcel into approximately 5-acre sections. Fence lines may require hand mowing/weed eating to ensure completion of fuelbreak. When terrain is too steep or rugged for a tractor, a handmowed fuelbreak may be required . All cut material should be mulched and scattered or raked, bagged and removed from parcel.
3126.96.36.199 Fuelbreaks Along Roadways. Fuelbreaks along roadways are required as part of the property line. Road right-of-ways shall be cleared to a minimum of 10 feet horizontally from the edge of driving surface and 13'6" vertically.
3188.8.131.52 Active Pastureland. Active pastureland shall be provided with 15-foot wide fuelbreaks and crossbreaks if a sufficient number of animals are present to steadily reduce height of grasses during the summer months to 3 inches or less by the end of August, irrespective of parcel size. If this requirement cannot be met, 30-foot fuelbreaks and crossbreaks shall be required.
3184.108.40.206 Active Cropland. Active cropland shall be provided with 15-foot fuelbreaks or crossbreaks if the crop is to be harvested by mid-June. If there is to be a later harvest, 30-foot fuelbreaks shall be required.
3220.127.116.11 Orchards. Orchards are to be maintained by complete abatement, including grasses under tree branches (see Section 318.104.22.168). This may require pruning of lower branches to allow equipment access.
322.214.171.124 Tree Litter. Tree litter (eucalyptus leaves and bark, coniferous needles, leaves, fallen branches, etc.) shall be removed from the base of trees, tree stems, and limbs within 10 feet of the ground and maintained throughout the fire season.
3126.96.36.199 30-Foot Fuelbreaks. 30-foot fuelbreaks, where required, shall be provided around all structures, combustible storage, trees, shrubs and brush, along ridgelines, fencelines, ditches, and along the sides of, but not in, creeks. Fuelbreaks and crossbreaks are a continuous strip of disced or dozed ground following as closely as possible to the property line, and along one side of all fencelines, ditches, and on top of all ridgelines. Remove from the property all debris, rubble, junk, piles of dirt, etc., Which would obstruct or impede vehicles and/or equipment used for abatement work or fire suppression operations.
3188.8.131.52 Mowed Fuelbreaks. Mowed fuelbreaks shall be 60 feet wide and mowed crossbreaks 30 feet wide due to ability of the remaining surface material to support a fire growth.
3184.108.40.206 Discing Quality. All discing work, including fuelbreaks, shall be completed so that all weeds, grasses, crops and other vegetation or organic material, which could be expected to burn, shall be completely turned under to the point that there is not sufficient exposed fuel to maintain or allow the spread of fire.
320.5 Abatement Procedures.
320.5.1 Abatement Order. The Fire Code Official may order the abatement of the weeds and rubbish described in Sections 304.1.2 and 320. On making the order, the Fire Code Official will mail a copy of a notice to the owners of the affected property as their names and addresses appear upon the last county equalized assessment roll, or as their names and addresses are known to the Fire Code Official. As an alternative to mailing, the notice may be posted upon the affected property and published in the jurisdiction, not less than 15 days prior to the date of the abatement hearing. Copies of the notice will be headed with the words “Notice to Abate Weeds and Rubbish” in letters at least one inch high. The notice will be in substantially the following form:
NOTICE TO ABATE WEEDS AND RUBBISH
You are hereby notified that weeds and rubbish constitute a fire hazard on the following described property owned by you:
(Describe property by common street designation, by metes and bounds, Assessor’s code area and parcel number, or by reference to attached map).
You must remove the weeds and rubbish within fifteen (15) days from the date of this notice. If you fail to do so, the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District (District) will remove it, and the cost of the abatement, including administrative costs, will be collected as property taxes and will be a lien on your property until paid.
You are further notified that the District Board of Directors has declared that such weeds and rubbish constitute a public nuisance and that such weeds also constitute a seasonal and recurring nuisance.
You may appear before the Board of Directors of this jurisdiction on (time and date) at (place- room, street, address, and city) to show cause why this order should not be enforced.
(Signed): (Name of Fire Code Official)
320.5.2 Hearing Date. A date for hearing on the notice will be sent at least fifteen (15) days after the date of the notice. The date of the notice is the date on which the notice is placed in the United States mail or the date on which it is posted on the property. At the hearing, the property owner or his agent may appear to show cause why the order should not be enforced. For good cause shown, the Board of Directors may extend the time for compliance with the order or may rescind the order.
320.5.3 Contract Award. If the owner fails to comply with the order, the Fire Code Official may have the weeds and rubbish abated either by employees of this jurisdiction or by contract. If a contract is awarded, it will be by public bid, awarded to the lowest responsible bidder. A contract may include work on more than one parcel. Concerning any contract previously awarded as provided in this subsection and that has been fully extended as provided in that contract, it may thereafter be extended on its same terms and conditions for a further period (not to exceed one year) by agreement of the Board of Directors and the involved contractor.
320.5.4 Abatement Report of Costs. The Fire Code Official or his or her designee abating the nuisance will keep an account of the cost of abatement in front of or on each separate parcel of land and will render an itemized report in writing to the Board of Directors showing the cost of removing the weeds and rubbish on or in front of each separate lot or parcel of land, or both. Before the report is submitted to the Board of Directors, a copy of it will be posted for at least three days on or near the chamber door of the Board with a notice of the time and when the report will be submitted to the Board for confirmation. At the time fixed for receiving and considering the report, the Board of Directors will hear it and any objections of any of the property owners liable to be assessed for the work of abatement. Thereupon, the Board of Directors may make such modifications in the report as it deems necessary, after which the report will be confirmed. The amount of the cost, including administrative costs, of abating the nuisance in front of or upon the various parcels of the land mentioned in the report as confirmed will constitute special assessment against the respective parcels of land, and are a lien on the property for the amount of the respective assessments. Such lien attaches upon recordation, in the office of the County Recorder, of a certified copy of the Resolution of Confirmation.
320.5.5 Cost Assessments. Upon confirmation of the report of cost by the Board of Directors and the recordation of the Resolution of Confirmation, a copy of the report of cost will be sent to the County Auditor, who will enter the amount of the assessments against the parcels. Thereafter the amount of the assessments will be collected at the same time and in the same way as County taxes are collected. The owners are subject to the same penalties and the same procedure and sale in case of delinquency as provided for ordinary county taxes. All laws applicable to the levy, collection, and enforcement of county taxes are applicable to these assessment taxes.
320.6 Alternate Mitigation. In lieu of ordering abatement as provided in Section 320.5.1, the Fire Code Official of this jurisdiction may order the preparation of firebreaks/fuelbreaks around parcels of property where combustible weeds, crops, or brush are present. In determining the proper width for firebreaks/fuelbreaks, the Fire Code Official will consider the height of the growth, weather condition, topography, and the accessibility to the property for fire protection equipment. The procedure set forth in Section 320.5.1 for the abatement of weeds and rubbish shall apply to the preparation of firebreaks/fuelbreaks.
320.7 Subsurface Fires.
320.7.1 Peat Fire. It is the duty of each person, firm, corporation, or association not to permit a peat fire in or a fire involving combustible vegetable matters under the surface of the natural ground to remain upon the property. It is hereby declared that it is the duty of any person as herein defined to take all necessary precautions to extinguish any subsurface fire involving peat or vegetable material at the owner’s own cost and expense.
320.7.2 Fire Suppression Costs. If there exists upon the lands or property of any person as herein defined a subsurface fire involving the burning or combustion of peat, vegetable matter or vegetation, and the owner or occupant thereof has not taken reasonable precautions within a reasonable time to extinguish or minimize such fire or combustion, this jurisdiction may, in addition to its regular duties to extinguish or minimize such fire or combustion, go upon the lands of any person as herein defined and extinguish such fire or combustion. Any costs incurred by the District in fighting the fire and for the cost of providing rescue or emergency medical services shall be a charge against the property owner. The charge shall constitute a debt of the property owner and is collectable by the jurisdiction incurring those costs in the same manner as in the case of an obligation under a contract, express or implied. (See Health and Safety Code §13009.)