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Brush Clearance Safety

Summer has arrived in the City of Westlake Village! With this past winter’s heavy rain storms, hillsides have become blanketed by thick brush and tall grass. All of this growth has now dried out with the summer heat creating some of the densest wildfire fuel our region has seen in quite some time. 

Within the past month, the hills adjacent to Westlake Village have experienced over a dozen wildfires. While the official start of the wildfire season in Southern California is still a few months away, it is evident that being prepared is a year-round task. As nearly half of these fires were inadvertently caused by residents and businesses clearing brush and creating a defensible space around their properties, I wanted to take this opportunity to remind you of some safety tips to help prevent future incidents. 

The Los Angeles County Fire Department, which serves the City of Westlake Village as well as most of our neighboring communities, has identified the cause of many of the recent wildfires as a result of the very activity aimed at preventing wildfires: brush clearance. In order to continue encouraging residents to clear brush and maintain a defensible space around their homes, the City would like to provide a few tips to keep in mind when using tools such as weed whackers: 

1. Have your tool or weed whacker professionally checked and tuned before use, especially if it’s been in storage.

2. Make sure there are no gas leaks.

3. Take breaks so the motor does not become overheated.

4. Use plastic blades or nylon strings instead of metal blades. Sparks are caused by metal blades hitting rocks.

5. If you must use a metal blade, clear rocks first or avoid them as much as possible to prevent sparks.

6. Cut in the cooler parts of the day (morning, evening, or overcast).

7. Always have a water source or fire extinguisher close by to put out sparks and blazes immediately. 

In partnership with the Los Angeles County Fire Department, our City has provided some additional resources to keep your family and property safe. Please take some time to review the following brochures:  

- READY! SET! GO! – YOUR PERSONAL WILDFIRE ACTION PLAN

- READY! SET! GO! – WILDFIRE ACTION PLAN SUPPLEMENT

Thank you for your efforts to keep our community safe! If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact City Hall at your convenience.