Abatement Dates Change for LA City, LA County Most Likely to Follow


The world has changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic but the one thing that has not is that California is still very susceptible to wildfires.

Normally about this time of the year abatement is on the minds of firefighters and residents, especially those residents who live along the foothills. Abatement inspections were to begin in May; however, for Los Angeles City Fire Dept. that date has been extended to June 1.

“Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Los Angeles City Fire Dept. has issued new brush clearance timelines for property owners with the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone. The LAFD’s Brush Clearance Unit’s (BCU) response to the pandemic has been rapidly evolving. During this difficult and unprecedented event, the BCU’s mission and commitment to the health and safety of the public and its members are of the utmost importance. Because brush fires continue to be a threat to life and property in the City, the BCU has been working to develop a new timeline that allows the LAFD to best mitigate the brush hazard while balancing the impact of COVID-19,” according to a LAFD statement.

Abatement, or brush clearance, is extremely important. It requires that residents reduce flammable landscaping near their houses to give firefighters “defensible space,” that is a 100-foot buffer space between a building, like a home, and the grass, trees, shrubs and other vegetation surrounding it.

It is not only important for those residents who live near a wooded area to clear dead or dry vegetation around their house and on their roof, including from rain gutters, but all neighborhoods need to be vigilant because fire can travel.

“Embers can travel miles,” LA County Firefighter Specialist Brian Stevens said in an earlier interview with CVW. People are often surprised at how one home may have burned and another didn’t, he added.

Winds can pick up embers and carry them several miles to rooftops of structures and tree-lined areas.

Although LA City Fire Dept. has extended abatement deadlines, LA County Fire has yet to determine if and when they will extend. It is likely LA County Fire will but they have yet to determine a date, said Maria Grycan, spokeswoman for LACoFD.

She added the reason for the date adjustment is not just because of COVID-19 but also because of the large amount of rain the area has recently received.

For property owners within the City of Los Angeles who receive fire/life safety brush notice violations at the time of the physical inspection, due dates for correcting the violations will be extended from 15 days to 45 days from the date of the initial inspection.