Below-average rainfall and above-average temperatures during the past winter have combined to quickly dry out vegetation, creating fire hazards in parts of Riverside County, Cal Fire officials said in a statement released Monday.
Areas where grasses, weeds and other fuels have cured include portions of the Temecula area.
With that warning in mind, Cal Fire announced its intent to begin this week issuing Notices of Violation and Orders to Abate for violations of Hazard Reduction Ordinance 695.
Property owners who have not cleared their land of overgrown weeds, dry grasses, and other flammable vegetation will begin receiving notice-orders from the Riverside County Fire Hazard Reduction Office, according to Cal Fire.
Every year, Cal Fire personnel conduct hazardous vegetation abatement inspections on vacant parcels in the Riverside County Fire Department unincorporated service area, Cal Fire officials said.
"With the combination of below average rainfall and above average temperatures during the past winter the annual vegetation is quickly drying and has become a fire hazard," Cal Fire officials warned. "As the summer approaches and temperatures rise, the fire danger will increase within the flammable vegetation and in turn become the predominant fuel source for wildland fires."
Cal Fire also warned all residents, renters and property owners to be prepared for fire season: "Wildfire is Coming….are YOU Ready? Learn how to protect your family and property from an approaching wildland fire! Go to http://www.readyforwildfire.org/ to begin your plan."
Any property owner who receives a Notice of Violation and Order to Abate is required to clear the cited parcel or parcels within 30 days, per the requirements set forth in the Notice, Cal Fire officials said.
Cal Fire also warned property owners to be fire-savvy when clearing their lands.
"Each year, CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department responds to wildland fires caused by improper equipment operations," Cal Fire officials said. "Many times it's the land owners and/or hired contractors who cause these fires.
"Fires that are found to be negligent and caused by improper equipment operations are costly and operators of said equipment will be held liable for the cost associated with fire suppression," Cal Fire officials said.
The guidelines for proper brush clearance and equipment use and safety can be found on the www.rvcfire.org website, or http://www.fire.ca.gov/communications/communications_factsheets.php.
For more information or assistance on hazardous vegetation abatement on vacant parcel within unincorporated areas of Riverside County, call (951) 943-0640.