Some North Coast weeds are head high already, hillsides are starting to turn brown and the Cambria Community Services District is about to declare that it’s time for selected property owners to clear away “noxious, dangerous, seasonal and/or recurring weeds” and other specific combustible materials. The work is designed to reduce available fuel for wildfires. Approximately 1,800 notices will be mailed.
The district Board of Directors is to consider two related items at a meeting at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, May 24, in the Veterans Memorial Building, 1000 Main St.
Every year, firefighters from Cambria Fire Department and Cal Fire encourage or force property owners to clear brush, weeds and other flammables that can make fires grow quickly.
Following state codes and local ordinances, Cambria Fire enforces lot-clearing on vacant properties, and Cal Fire implements the state codes on developed land.
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Starting time for the CCSD 2012 Fire Hazard Fuel Reduction program’s 2012 will be later than in previous years, primarily because the district is now handling the billing for contract work, rather than meet the county’s cut-off date for the tax assessor to levy the charges. But the delay also is because the 2011-12 rain season was extended by intermittent rains, which tends to keep greenery greener longer.
According to a draft deadline schedule, if the district’s Board of Directors approves the program May 24, the annual notice to start clearing is to be mailed to affected property owners the next day. They then have until July 13 to complete the work. The board is to select this year’s contractor on June 28; that firm must complete its work between July 27 and Aug. 17.
The board’s first related issue on the May 24 agenda is confirming a list of 35 properties that weren’t properly cleared during the 2011 Fire Hazard Fuel Reduction program, according to Fire Chief Mark Miller.
That weed-abatement work was then assigned to a contractor, who cleared away the flammables and billed the district a total of $17,649. If the board approves the list, individual charges will be assigned to the tax bills of those properties. Miller said most of the charges range from $400 to $575, with one property to be assessed $750.
Those figures include a total of $400 administrative fee per parcel, $200 of which is charged to all properties that “go to contract,” and the balance added to cover administrative charges for working with the county to add the amounts to the tax rolls.
The board is also expected to adopt the 2012 hazard-reduction program by declaring that the fire fuels are a public nuisance. That’s the action that triggers the whole process, including the list of cascading deadlines that conclude May 13, 2013, when this year’s program is to end.