Very High Fire Severity Zone (VHFSZ) Brush Clearance Requirements has final City Council vote on October 10th

 Images from Benedict Canyon’s Portola Fire in June 2018 that was caused by a weed whacker.

Images from Benedict Canyon’s Portola Fire in June 2018 that was caused by a weed whacker.

The new ordinance is scheduled is schedule for final adoption by City Council on October 10, 2018 (Agenda Item No 4).

Click here to see the City Council File.

Below is the summary of the proposed new ordinance:

SUMMARY (from 12 to 8 provisions): 

SEC. 57.322.1.1.10. ADDITIONAL BRUSH CLEARANCE REQUIREMENTS. All Individuals performing grass or brush clearance activities in the VHFHSZ shall adhere to the following specific requirements:

1. Grass or brush clearance operations shall not be conducted on red flag days. Individuals engaged in grass or brush clearance operations shall not engage in any other activities during their actual clearance of grass or brush.

2. Individuals engaged in grass or brush clearance operations shall not engage in any other activities during their actual clearance of grass or brush. 

3. Individuals engaged in grass or brush clearance operations shall use an appropriate extinguishing agent immediately to extinguish a fire. 

4. All fires, regardless of size, shall be reported immediately via the 9­ 1-1 system to the Fire Department. 

5. A Class 2-A two (2) gallon water fire extinguisher, pressurized garden hose with attached nozzle (fully open), or comparable pressurized Class 2-A extinguishing device, shall be within 10 feet of any grass or brush clearance operation. 

6. Where a gasoline container is present at the site of the grass or brush clearance operation, a minimum 4A 60 BC dry chemical fire extinguisher shall be within 10 feet of the brush clearance operation. 

7. 2 A cell phone capable of dialing 9-1-1 shall be charged and readily accessible to the grass or brush clearance operation. 

8. A safety strap shall be used at all times for any tool or appliance with hot exhaust. Hot exhaust shall not come in contact with any brush, grass, flash fuels, or other flammable material.

PENALTY. A first violation of this section shall be an infraction punishable by a fine not to exceed $250. A second and all subsequent violations of this section shall be subject to the provisions of Section 11.00 of the Los Angeles Municipal Code, including prosecution as an infraction or prosecution as a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000, by imprisonment in the County Jail for a period not to exceed six months, or by both such fine and imprisonment. In addition to the aforementioned penalties, any violator convicted under this section, which resulted in a fire, may be liable for any civil cost recovery associated with the fire, as permitted by law.

Sec. 6. URGENCY CLAUSE. Based on the findings set forth above, and that use of metal cutting blades to clear grass and brush is likely to continue to occur within the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone without the necessary safeguards, the City Council adopts this ordinance as an urgency ordinance that is required for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety. This ordinance shall become effective upon publication.