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I Received a Notice. What Now?

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Municipal Code

If you have received a letter from Ashland Fire & Rescue titled - Notice of Warning, or Notice of Violation and Order to Abate, for a property located in Ashland, it is because there is a known issue or history of this property violating one or more aspects of Ashland Municipal Code Chapter 9.04, Weeds & Noxious vegetation. You may not have received a Notice to Abate in the past regarding this property. Violations can range in severity and kind but all play a part in increasing the risks of wildfire around a home or business within our city and/or poses risks to the health of our watershed. 

Due to a printing error in the bulk-mailing process, the notice dated 11/30/2020 has a misprinted DUE BY date. The actual due date is June 15th, 2021, in preparation for next fire season. We apologize for this important printing error. 


Ashland Fire & Rescue is requesting owners and/or tenants of property in Ashland to better meet the requirements of AMC9.04 to help protect our community from wildfire. This warning letter is being issued at this time to give property owners and/or tenants extra time to prepare for next year’s fire season before legal actions may occur to bring a property into compliance with this ordinance.

This letter is not stating that you will be fined or your property forcibly abated, it is a warning regarding your legal responsibility that a property owner and/or tenant may be fined if the violation(s) are, or become, a significant risk if not properly abated. 
 
Ashland Fire & Rescue is advising that greater efforts be made on your property to meet the June 15th deadline for weed abatement and to maintain minimum fire safety standards throughout fire season. Minimum fire safety standards are listed in the letter you received.

For further recommendations to improve the defensible space around your property beyond this ordinance, please visit fireadaptedashland.org.
 
After reviewing the requirements set forth in the letter AND thoroughly evaluating the referenced property, if you have specific questions regarding this notice or have other pertinent questions, please email cutweeds@ashland.or.us or call 541-552-2246 and we will respond as soon as we are able. 

 

 The purpose of AMC Chapter 9.04 is to reduce the risk of damage to property and persons by fire due to weeds and prohibited flammable plants, and to reduce hazards to public health, agriculture, recreation, and wildlife by controlling the growth of weeds and noxious vegetation.

This ordinance requires:
  • The mowing or cutting of weeds and grass to a maximum height of 4 inches maintained throughout fire season each year, or at any other time of the year when deemed a fire, health or traffic hazard (AMC9.04.020).
  • No species identified on the Prohibited Flammable Plants List is to be newly planted on your property within 30-feet of a structure, and requires the cutting down and/or removal of any new seedlings and volunteer plants of listed prohibited flammable plants as often as needed to prevent them from posing an increased fire hazard (AMC9.04.022).
  • The cutting down, destruction and/or removal of noxious vegetation as often as needed to prevent it from becoming a fire, health or traffic hazard, from becoming unsightly, or maturing, spreading and going to seed (AMC9.04.024). Targeted species include, but not limited to: Himalayan blackberry, Scotch Broom, poison hemlock, bull thistle, star thistle, tree of heaven.
To keep property in compliance with AMC 9.04 and avoid possible legal action, Ashland Fire & Rescue is enforcing the following minimum* requirements be met:
 
  • Property Owners or Renters of Property One Acre or smaller in size are required to cut and maintain all weeds and grass to no more than 4 inches in height on the entire property and on abutting park rows, sidewalks, alleys and other rights-of-way abutting the property. Establish a 3-foot clearance radius around any fire hydrant on the property or in the adjacent rights-of-way. 
 
  • Property Owners or Renters of Property Greater than One Acre in size are required to cut and maintain weeds and grass to no more than 4 inches in height on the entire property with the following minimum requirements:
    • Create a fire break within 30 feet of any structures, including any neighbor’s structure(s).
    • Create a 15-foot-wide fire break along the property line around the entire lot.
    • Create a 15-foot-wide fire break along each side of access roads and driveways on, or leading to, the property.
    • Abate abutting park rows, sidewalks, alleys, and other rights-of-way abutting the property.
    • Establish a 3-foot clearance radius around any fire hydrant(s) on the property, or in the adjacent rights-of-way.

PLEASE NOTE: 

If a required area to abate is within a riparian zone or wetland:

  • Refer to the City of Ashland's Planning Department for further information regarding requirements and restrictions for working within riparian zones (AMC18.3.11.020)

The minimum abatement on property of any size shall include:

  • the cutting and/or removal of ALL Scotch Broom and thistles on the entire property
  • Any Himalayan blackberry bushes, Poison hemlock, and/or Tree of heaven within the required areas to abate.
  • Debris (including tree litter) shall comply with AMC9.08.110 or be removed.

 

EXAMPLES

don't wait to abate sidewalk
The owner of any lot or parcel of land within the limits of the City of Ashland shall cut and/or remove weeds growing thereon, and on adjacent and abutting rights-of-way AMC 9.04.020 

 

 
alleys and long driveways
The owner of any lot or parcel of land within the limits of the City of Ashland shall cut and/or remove weeds growing thereon, and on adjacent and abutting rights-of-way AMC 9.04.020 

 

right of ways
The owner of any lot or parcel of land within the limits of the City of Ashland shall cut and/or remove weeds growing thereon, and on adjacent and abutting rights-of-way AMC 9.04.020 

 

long driveways
Decorative residential landscaping is exempted from these requirements unless that vegetation is a fire, health or traffic hazard. AMC 9.04.15

 


 

Noxious Vegetation (includes Himalayan Blackberry)
A complete list of noxious weeds can be found here.

Noxious weeds can be burned anywhere in the city once a permit is issued. 
WEEDS MUST BE PILED. NO WEED BURNERS (TORCHES) ARE ALLOWED.

blackberry alley
The owner of any lot or parcel of land within the limits of the City of Ashland shall not permit noxious vegetation to grow upon their property and on adjacent and abutting rights-of-way. AMC 9.04.024

 

Clearance Distances from Structures

Weeds and noxious vegetation on a property of any size are required to be removed within a minimum of 30 feet from any structures, including structures on adjacent properties.

  • Minimum clearance distances shall be increased by 10 feet for each ten percent increase in the average slope of the property over ten percent. 

 


Please check out this useful resource:
MANAGING HIMALAYAN BLACKBERRY IN WESTERN OREGON RIPARIAN AREAS

By Max Bennett-Forester, Associate Professor and Oregon State University Extension Agent
for Jackson and Josephine counties

Managing Himalayan Blackberry
Click here to open PDF

 


hydrants title

 

hydrant clearance
Photo courtesy of Jared Cruce, (Siskiyou Fire 2009)

 

Hydrants how to treat

 

Hydrant Can you find me?

 

Hydrant clearances

 


 Please check out the video below on "How to Make Your Home and Property Fire-Safe", funded by the Oregon Department of Forestry and Keep Oregon Green.

 

 

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