Overgrown vacant lots neglected by property owners are summer fire threat

A few weeks ago, a vacant property caught fire and left two homes in south Sacramento severely damaged before the Sacramento Fire Department was able to diffuse the flames. Last July, this same property was given notice and no action was taken, resulting in a similar grass fire. It was recently discovered that the owner of this property is based out of Hong Kong.

During fire season, more resources are devoted towards potential fire dangers. Depending on a variety of factors each year, including rainfall totals and the combination of dry and warm weather, the chief of the Fire Department will designate a period as fire season, meaning fires are more dangerous and frequent at this time. Once the fire season begins,  the City begins to issue notices to property owners  identified to have hazardous amounts of weed and vegetation.

This year, over 7,000 notices went out to property owners asking them to mow the property. Those that do not take action for their property are given a second notice for abatement. If they still fail to comply, a follow -up inspection is scheduled. In the case of this fire, the City had sent two notices in February and May to the property owner to the property owner, and, with no response, an inspection was scheduled for June. If still overgrown, the property owner would have been billed for the mowing and be issued a fine. The penalty for not abiding by these notices is $500. Unfortunately, flames caught hold of the overgrown weeds before that inspection could take place.

Ultimately, property owners are fully responsible for taking the appropriate action when dangerous situations occur on vacant lots that may put residents and surroundings lots at risk. Read more about the weed abatement program. If the fines are not paid, the City puts a lien on the property.

The City of Sacramento has a designated Code Compliance Division that maintains the safety of living and working environments for Sacramento residents and business owners. If you have see any violations, do your part by reporting the issue here.