Why is brush clearing in Pasadena so important?

Did you know that more than 60% of new residential development since 1990 has been in wildfire-prone areas? For Pasadena residents, this statistic hits close to home. In 2019, the city was impacted by the devastating Saddleridge fire. While it was not the original site of the blaze, hazardous air spread through dozens of communities. The smoky air contained polluted atmospheric particles like sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides that latched onto the lungs. Poor air quality is harmful to even the healthiest individuals, but the high concentration of toxins was fatal for some individuals who suffered from respiratory problems, asthma, and heart conditions. Southern California is a very arid, drought-prone environment. The high temperatures, strong Santa Ana winds, and dry weather create the perfect fuel for wildfires. Our fire season begins in June and runs until December. Without consistent brush clearing, Pasadena’s residential properties can endanger those around them and contribute to wildfire spread.

Without consistent brush clearing, residential properties can endanger those around them and contribute to wildfire spread. In order to prevent future fires, Los Angeles County created the brush clearance and inspection program. Pasadena is the ninth-largest city in Los Angeles County, and thus city residents must comply with program requirements. We always recommend following brush clearance guidelines; however, only certain areas are required to comply. These areas are known as Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones (VHFHSZ). They are depicted in red on the official Los Angeles Fire Department zone map. To enforce the ordinance, the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) will conduct property inspections and issue citations. Homeowners who do not respond to clearance orders will incur hefty non-compliance fees.

What are the brush clearance requirements for LA County in 2020?

The LAFD has issued fewer than ten unique brush clearance requirements, but it can be difficult for homeowners to meet the highly specific guidelines. For example, all trees in Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones (VHFHSZ) must be trimmed up so the foliage is no closer than 10 feet from the outlet of a chimney. If you have any trees taller than 18 feet, the lower branches must be trimmed so no foliage is within six feet of the ground. Tree trimming and brush clearing often require the use of heavy machinery. Therefore, it is very dangerous for homeowners to attempt the work themselves. You’ll eliminate the risk to your health and any potential damage to neighboring property by getting help from professionals like those at Green Leaf Zone.

If you’ve received a notice of noncompliance, we recommend contacting a professional brush and tree service company. You will have 15 days from receipt of the notice to bring your property to compliance. As the leading provider of brush clearing in Pasadena, we’re very familiar with the local plant life and the brush clearance requirements set by the Los Angeles Fire Department.