The fire season can be extremely dangerous and your Fire Department is extremely concerned about the tall dry grass, weeds, brush growth and/or combustible debris which may be on your property on either flatland or hillside areas.
Following is an outline entitled "Fire Hazard Safety Guidelines". This will provide you with information on fire safety for your home. It addresses the importance of having adequate brush clearance and creating a defensible space around your property. These guidelines will provide you with the know how to prepare for guarding your property against a wildfire.
The West Covina Fire Department will continue to actively ENFORCE all of its fire prevention codes relative to brush clearance and wild vegetative management. We appreciate your abating any hazardous conditions on your property within fifteen (15) days of receipt of this notice.
We hope you will find this information to be useful and informative. If we can provide you with any additional service, please call us.
Removal of all dry brush & grass is mandatory in accordance with City of West Covina Municipal Code, Chapter 10, Section 1103.2.5 Fire Prevention and Protection 10-27
Section 1007.2 .9.3 is added to the Uniform Fire Code to read as follows:
Section 1007.2.9.3. Smoke Detectors in Dwelling Units and Guest Rooms.
Every existing building used as a single family or multiple family occupancy, hotel, motel, boarding house, or mobile home shall have installed therein an approved smoke detector that operates on products of combustion and meets the requirements of Section 310.9 of the 1994 Edition of the Uniform Building Code under the following conditions:
1. Whenever a permit is required for addition or alteration to that building.
Section 1102.3.9 is added to the Uniform Fire Code to read as follows:
Section 1102.3.9. Bonfires and Outdoor Rubbish Fires.
No person shall kindle or maintain any bonfire or rubbish fire or authorize such fire to be kindled or maintained on private land within the city except with the specific approval of the South , Coast Air Quality Management District an under a written permit by the fire chief.
Section 1103.2.2 of the Uniform Fire Code is amended to read as follows:
Section 1103.2.2. Rubbish within Dumpsters.
Dumpsters and/or containers with an individual capacity of 1.5 cubic yards (40.5 cubic feet) or more shall not be stored in buildings or placed within five (5) feet of combustible wall, openings or combustible roof eave lines. Except as provided for in this section.
Commercially serviced refuse containers of capacities larger than 1.5 cubic yards (40.5 cubic feet) or more shall be constructed of metal and provided with metal lids. Containers shall be delivered and restored after servicing with the lids in a closed position. Lids shall be maintained in the closed position except during the process of introducing or removing refuse.
Commercially serviced refuse containers shall be serviced as often as necessary to prevent over filling. Placement of refuse which raises the lid of the container by more than 1/2 inch from closed position is prohibited. No refuse shall be allowed to accumulate outside of refuse containers.
Commercially serviced refuse containers shall be signed "Keep Lid Closed" with letters at least three (3) inches high with a one (1) inch stroke on a contrasting background.
Trash enclosures and refuse storage areas located beneath combustible construction shall be protected by automatic sprinklers. Trash chutes and trash rooms constructed shall be protected by automatic sprinklers approved by the fire chief. If located in residential occupancies, a smoke detector system approved by the fire chief shall also be provided.
Section 1103.2.5 is added to the Uniform Fire Code to read follows:
Section 1103.2.6. Removal of Flammable and Combustible Vegetation and Materials.
All residential front, rear, and side yards including slopes shall be maintained, by the owner or occupant, free and clear of all flammable or combustible vegetation for a distance of 100 feet or to their property line whichever is closest.
A minimum clearance of 10 feet shall be maintained between all roads and all dry grass, weeds, vegetation and any other combustible material.
A minimum clearance of 10 feet shall be maintained between any tree or portion of a tree from the outlet of a chimney or stovepipe.
All roofs of any structure shall be maintained free of leaves, needles, or other dead vegetative growth.
It shall be unlawful for any person to deposit any grass, weeds, brush, debris, trash or other waste material upon any vacant lot or parcel of ground within the city.
FIRE HAZARD AND SAFETY GUIDELINES FOR HOMEOWNERS AND RESIDENTS
City of West Covina homes could be in serious danger of destruction by fire because of their proximity to brush-covered areas. Any home that has brush near it is in danger. Homes with wooden roofs and siding are particularly vulnerable to the spread of fire. Despite efforts of fire fighters, wildland fires, fanned by strong winds, can destroy homes. It is YOUR legal responsibility to take the actions necessary to reduce this possibility.
Your first defense against wildfire is to create a firesafe landscape around your home. This can be achieved by removing flammable vegetation and replacing it with fire resistive plants and vegetation; spacing the plants in your yard; clearing away dry brush around your home and any dead leaves on your roof and in the rain gutters.
If you are able to create a fire safe landscape around your house, you will reduce the chance of a wildfire spreading onto your property and reaching your home. By creating a "defensible space" or safety zone you will greatly improve the chances of your home surviving a wildfire.
THE TWO MOST IMPORTANT STEPS TOWARDS ESTABLISHING A DEFENSIBLE SPACE
Clear all flammable vegetation (tall, dry grass/weeds) to a height of 2 inches or below to a minimum of 30 feet from around your home which includes; wooden fences and other structures. This does not apply to single trees, ornamental shrubbery, or cultivated ground covers, provided they do not readily transmit fire. This will provide you with the greatest chance for survival; it is also required by law.
In addition, cut all other flammable vegetation beyond Step 1 to a height of 6 inches for another 70 feet.
"Extra hazardous conditions" may require an additional 100 feet of clearance.
FIRE SAFE LANDSCAPING
You can start with the native vegetation around your home. Many of the plants that grow naturally in your area are highly flammable during the summer and can actually "fuel" a wildfire, causing it to spread rapidly through your neighborhood. Removing flammable vegetation and replacing it with low-growing, fire resistive plants is one of the easiest and most effective ways to create a defensible space. Select landscape vegetation based on fire resistance and ease of maintenance, as well as visual enhancement of your property. In general, fire resistive plants:
- Grow close to the ground
- Have a low sap or resin content
- Grow without accumulating dead branches, needles or leaves
- Are easily maintained and pruned
- Are drought-tolerant in some cases
Contact the West Covina Fire Department or your local nursery to find out which fire resistive plants are adapted to the climate in your area. Stay away from unsafe ornamental landscaping plants, such as junipers, which may actually INCREASE the fire risk your home faces.
FIRE SAFETY POINTS - OUTSIDE YOUR HOME
- Remove dead branches hanging over your roof
- Remove any branches within 10 feet of your chimney
- Clean all dead leaves and needles from your roof and rain gutter
- Install a roof that meets the fire resistance classification of Class "B" or better
- Cover your chimney outlet with an approved spark arrestor or metal or non-flammable screen of 1/2 inch or smaller mesh
- Build your home away from ridge tops, canyons and areas between high points (saddles) on a ridge
- Build your home at least 30 feet from your property line
- Use fire resistive building materials
- Enclose the underside of balconies and above ground decks with fire resistive materials
- Limit the size and number of windows in your home that face large areas of vegetation
- Install only dual-paned or triple-paned windows
- The West Covina Fire Department requires a "defensible space" of 30 feet or more around all buildings and structures. Remove all flammable vegetation or other combustible growth. This does not apply to single trees, ornamental shrubbery, or cultivated ground covers, provided they do not readily transmit fire.
- Thin out or remove additional vegetation an additional 70 feet from the structure for a total of 100 feet of defensible space
- At the discretion of the inspecting officer, with the approval of the Fire Chief, an additional 100 feet of clearance may be required because of high fire hazard
- Space trees and shrubs at least 10 feet apart
- For trees taller than 18 feet, prune lower branches within 6 feet of the ground
- Choose ornamental landscaping plants that are fire resistive
- Maintain all plants by regularly removing dead branches, leaves and needles
Emergency Water Supply
- Stack woodpiles at least 30 feet from all structures and clear away flammable vegetation within 10 feet of woodpiles
- Locate LPG tanks (butane and propane) at least 30 feet from any structure and surround them with 10 feet of clearance
- Remove an stacks of construction materials, pine needles, leaves and other debris from your yard
- Maintain an emergency water supply that meets fire department standards, through one of the following:
- A community water/hydrant system
- Cooperative emergency storage tank with neighbors
- A minimum storage supply of 2,500 gallons on your property
- If you have a swimming pool, consider obtaining a gas-powered fire pump with a firehose and nozzle
- Make accessible, clearly mark and maintain an emergency water source
- If your water comes from a well, consider an emergency generator to operate the pump during a power failure
- Identify at least two exit routes from your neighborhood
- Design driveway access for large emergency vehicles whenever possible
- Make sure dead-end roads and long driveways have turn-around areas wide enough for emergency vehicles
- Clear flammable vegetation horizontally at least 10 feet from roads and 10 feet from driveways
- Cut back overhanging tree branches above roads (minimum clear height of 13'6")
- Construct fire barriers, such as greenbelts, parks, golf courses and athletic fields
- Make sure that your street is named or numbered, and a sign is visibly posted at each intersection
- Post your house address at the beginning of your driveway, or on your house if it is easily visible from the road
Remember: Extra Hazardous areas may require an additional 100 feet of clearance
- Designate an emergency meeting place outside your home
- Practice emergency exit and evacuation drills regularly
- Ensure that electric service lines, fuse boxes and circuit breaker panels are installed and maintained according to code