Fire hazard violators face $500-per-day fine

With fire season approaching, city of Ashland officials are encouraging landowners to help mitigate hazards by cutting weeds and dry grass.

The Ashland Municipal Code requires that all property owners within the city limits cut weeds and dry grass by June 15 of each year. Violators are subject to a $500 penalty per day and the city's cost of abatement.

Weeds and other unmanaged combustible vegetation can cause a significant fire hazard as the season turns to summer, city officials said.

All property owners are required to cut grass to no more than four inches in height. They also must maintain park rows — strips of grass found between streets and sidewalks in some neighborhoods — and other areas in the right-of-way abutting their property.

Owners of properties larger than 1 acre are required to cut all grass and weeds down to four inches within 30 feet of lot lines and any structures, including outbuildings. The distance required increases by 10 feet for every 10 percent of slope if the property has a slope of more than 10 percent. They also must create 15-foot buffers of cut grass and weeds along access roads and driveways through properties.

Weed abatement laws will be proactively applied to properties in the wildfire hazard zone. Weed abatement throughout the rest of the city will be managed by complaint-only on properties that present a fire risk.

Complaints must be submitted in writing using the form found on the city of Ashland's Web site and will be addressed beginning June 16.

More information on weed abatement, complaint forms and a list of weed abatement contractors can be found at www.ashland.or.us/weedabatement.

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