Why is brush clearing in the San Fernando Valley so important?
Did you know that more than 60% of new residential development since 1990 has been in wildfire-prone areas? For residents of the San Fernando Valley residents, this statistic hits close to home. In 2019, residents were forced to contend with the Saddleridge fire. The devastating blaze burned at least 7,542 acres, damaged or destroyed 31 structures, and forced more than 100,000 people from their homes. While the exact cause of the fire is unknown, fire officials point to the single-digit humidity levels in the area. Those critically dry conditions allowed the blaze to spread into Granada Hills and Porter Ranch. 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, San Fernando Valley 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. The San Fernando Valley is considered part of 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 noncompliance 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 San Fernando Valley, we’re very familiar with the local plant life and the brush clearance requirements set by the Los Angeles Fire Department.