The rolling hills and open space areas are covered by large amounts of annual wild weeds, grasses, native plants, shrubs and trees. All of these elements combined under the right wind temperature and humidity conditions can produce an explosive burn season.
The City of Hercules contracts with different groups for weed abatement and vegetation management of city owned open-space. The Fire Breaks Program was established to meet the requirements of the Rodeo/Hercules Fire District and the Uniform Fire Code. As part of this program, the Public Works Department trims weeds to 2 inches in height or less at a minimum of 50ft between public open spaces and all privately owned properties. All weed abatement must be completed on or before July 1 of each year. To see what areas the program covers, view the Firebreak Map (PDF) In matters regarding private property including open space please contact the Rodeo Hercules Fire Department at 510-799-4561.
Two types of methods are performed to abate weeds:
- Mowers, weed eaters, and other small hand equipment.
- Goat herds on harder to reach hillsides.
Homeowner, Property Owner or Renter Responsibility
As a homeowner, property owner or renter, you are responsible for the maintenance of the parcel which you own or reside upon. Within residential areas of the Rodeo-Hercules Fire District, fire hazard abatement standards for outdoor summer and fall fire safety areas are as follows and are required to be completed on or about June 1st of each year.
As a property owner or renter, you may be held liable for any property damage or personal injury resulting from a fire due to negligence on your part. If you receive a notice for abatement from the Fire District, do not ignore it, as abatement requirements will be strictly enforced. Should you fail to comply with the abatement notice, the Fire District will perform the work at your expense.
The following is a list of items that must be completed by each renter, home owner or property owner:
- Cut all dry dead grasses or weeds to a height of two inches (2”) or less within your property. Remove or thin over-grown brush, manzanita, scrub oak, coyote, grease wood, etc. It is required that the entire area within your property lines, regardless of size be maintained. In some cases, fences were constructed at the bottom of large sloping lots, when in fact the actual property line is located at the top of the slope. If you are uncertain of the property line, the Fire District will provide you with parcel information.
- All areas between structures shall be maintained in a fire safe manner.
- Remove dead or dying vegetation, trees and/or dead and dying branches.
- Trees should be trimmed back to a minimum of ten feet (10’) from structures.
- You should trim or limb up trees a minimum of six feet (6’) from the ground. This is especially important for evergreen trees such as pines, eucalyptus and Douglas fir when the ground cover beneath these plants is dry and dead.
- Do not allow combustible materials such as old fence wood, papers, cardboard, garden clippings and trash to accumulate on your property.
Additionally, you should clean your roof and rain gutters of debris such as leaves and pine needles. If you are planning a roof replacement, do so with an approved fire resistant type material only. Wood shakes or shingles are not recommended. Keep wood piles to a minimum and do not store against or within ten feet (10’) of your house.
Be extra cautious when barbecuing or cooking outdoors. Remember, it is illegal to burn rubbish, leaves, weeds, grass, garden trimmings or trash within the City of Hercules.
Together we can prevent fires and keep our community clean and beautiful.