Schwarzenegger Orders Fines For Overgrown Properties

SACRAMENTO (AP) - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is instructing state fire officials to begin fining rural homeowners who fail to clear their properties of brush, trees and dry grass.

Schwarzenegger says clearing around homes is particularly important because of this year's dry conditions throughout the state.

A 2005 law required that homeowners who live near forests or grasslands increase the so-called "defensible space" around their
houses from 30 feet to 100 feet.

State Fire Marshal Kate Dargan says inspectors have issued few
citations to homeowners who ignore the law. Instead, firefighters have focused on educating them about the dangers of overgrown properties.

During a Capitol news conference on Friday, Schwarzenegger said
he is ordering inspectors to be more strict about citing homeowners
who don't act.

Fines can range from $100 to $500. If homeowners still refuse, officials can clean up the property and send them the bill.
On the Net:
Read about defensible space requirements at

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-05-09-08 1530EDT

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