Defensible Space Inspections Start in 1 Placer Co. Neighborhood

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, June 9, 2008

Placer County has started a pilot program in a North Tahoe neighborhood aimed at reducing the risk of a major wildfire destroying homes.  The goal is to help property owners create enough defensible space around their buildings to give fire fighters the best shot at protecting them.
Suppose you’ve got two adjacent property owners, A and B.  A’s property has a building on it; B’s does not.  State law requires A to create 100 feet of defensible space around the building – but if A’s 100 feet stretches into B’s land, there’s nothing A can do.

That problem is what a new Placer County ordinance hopes to solve.  Cal Fire’s Brad Harris is the county’s fire warden.
Harris: “This ordinance will allow the county to intervene where that clearance is needed onto the unimproved property of another and get the other property owner involved.” 
In other words, if landowner B doesn’t clear enough defensible space him- or herself, the county can hire a contractor to do it for B – and then add the cost to B’s property tax bill. 
Inspections have just gotten under way in the neighborhood that’s the test-case for this pilot program: Talmont Estates, near Tahoe City.  If it works, officials plan to pass another ordinance extending it throughout the county in the future.